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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson buys XFL for $15 million with partner Redbird Capital, per report

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The XFL will live on, thanks to another WWE legendary figure taking the majority stake in the football league — but this time it’s not Vince McMahon. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and RedBird Capital teamed up to purchase the XFL for $15 million just hours before the once-bankrupt league was set for auction, per Sportico

Johnson and Gerry Cardinale, the CEO of Redbird Capital, each paid $7.5 million for the ownership rights to the XFL. RedBird Capital is an investment firm that focuses on providing flexible and long-term capital to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses, and the XFL will be its latest challenge. Dany Garcia, Johnson’s business partner and ex-wife, will also be a stakeholder in the league. 

Johnson is the latest WWE figurehead to own the XFL after WWE chairman and Vince McMahon had two attempts at the league. McMahon formed a partnership with Dick Ebersol and NBC in 2001, which was run as a joint venture before the league folded after one season. McMahon, also the founder and owner of Alpha Entertainment, revived the league for the 2020 season, but that second attempt was cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic after five weeks. 

The league filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy after suspending operations in April. Initially, McMahon’s XFL was optimistic that it would be able to return for a full season in 2021 and it kept its full-time employees on payroll. Due to the economic and sports sports shutdown as a result of the pandemic, the league was forced to cancel its revival. 

The XFL still has existing broadcast deals with Fox Sports and ESPN, but it remains to be seen whether either will continue in 2021. Per Daniel Kaplan of The Athletic, ESPN and Fox Sports are seeking major changes to their contracts, even though the XFL averaged 1.87 million viewers per game through its five weeks of action and surprising revenues through the agreements.

In its bankruptcy filing from April, Alpha Entertainment listed the league’s assets and liabilities in the range of about $10 million to $50 million. McMahon spent $200 million of his own capital to revive the XFL in 2018. 

Whether McMahon will have an involvement in XFL 3.0 is unknown, but Johnson’s star power and television draw (he’s the executive producer for “The Titan Games” on NBC and HBO’s Ballers, along with a number of big-budgeted films) may be more-than-enough for the league to stick around for good. 



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