The XFL has a new owner. According to a report from Scott Soshnick of Sportico.com, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is teaming up with RedBird Capital to purchase the football league hours before an auction was set to begin.
Johnson and RedBird Capital evenly split the $15 million purchase.
While Johnson is the new owner of the league, there is no word on when the XFL will be returning to action after being forced to shut down for a second time due to the coronavirus pandemic. The XFL filed for bankruptcy in April.
From the report:
They paid $15 million, splitting it evenly. Johnson’s business partner, Dany Garcia, who is also his ex-wife, will be a stakeholder as well. RedBird has made a litany of sports-related investments, including some with ties to the National Football League and its players. The presence of Johnson, meantime, continues pro wrestling’s involvement in the spring football league, which was founded—and funded—by WWE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Vince McMahon. The XFL filed for bankruptcy in April after the COVID-19 pandemic prompted the cancellation of its inaugural season, which got off to a promising start in terms of television audience. The league had a broadcast agreement with Fox.
RedBird has been active in its sports acquisitions recently, with a purchase of French soccer club Toulouse and investing in the YES Network.
While the XFL has struggled on two different occasions, adding The Rock to the mix brings a new level of legitimacy and star power that the league has been lacking. We will now have to see if the third time really is a charm.