The day has come, the XFL bankruptcy auction is finally here…. and we may know the new owner… or owners of the XFL. According to Sportico, the XFL has been sold to Redbird Capital, a group that includes former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock’’ Johnson.
Johnson, an actor and producer who played college football at the University of Miami, teamed up with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital to buy the league just hours before a planned auction was scheduled to begin. Where they equally spent $15 million to keep the XFL alive.
Dwayne Johnson has since commented on the situation:
Confirming that the @xfl2020 has been purchased by a group that includes Dwayne Johnson, aka The Rock, for $15 million. Deal contingent on court approval Aug. 7. Quote from Johnson below. The purchasing firm is Redbird Capital Partners. First reported by @Sporticopic.twitter.com/4pjwncCq0D
Also involved in the sale is Dwayne Johnson’s business partner and ex-wife, Dany Garcia. She also made the news official via her Twitter account earlier as well stating, “For The Love of Football For The Love of The Athletes For The Love of The Fans” and #owner.
RedBird has made a litany of sports-related investments, including some with ties to the National Football League and its players.
We reached out to XFL President Jeffrey Pollack for comment on the sale of the XFL and he had this to say:
“This is a Hollywood ending to our sale process and an awesome new start for the XFL. Dany, Dwayne and Gerry are a dream team ownership group and the XFL is in the best possible hands for the exciting journey ahead.”
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.
With live sports a reliable vehicle to deliver ratings, there’s a good chance a number of traditional TV networks—and perhaps streaming companies—would seek to add the XFL to their portfolios. Besides the league, networks would likely seek a tie-up with Johnson, who is the executive producer of “The Titan Games,’’ a sports competition reality series on NBC.
The XFL is the latest sports-related move for Cardinale and RedBird, which recently bought French soccer team Toulouse. In addition, Cardinale, along with Oakland A’s executive Billy Beane, created a special purpose acquisition company that’ll focus on buying companies in sports, media and data analytics.
The private equity firm is also an investor in the YES Network, the regional sports network that shows New York Yankees games, as well as On Location Experiences, which is partly owned by the NFL, and also OneTeam Partners, a tie-up that includes the unions that represent MLB and NFL players.
In its bankruptcy filing, Alpha Entertainment, the XFL’s parent, listed the league with assets and liabilities in the range of about $10 million to $50 million. XFL President Jeffrey Pollack oversaw the sale process for the league.
For only $15 million, The Rock and RedBird Capital got the XFL for a steal. Now sights are set on them to see what they can do with the league and in what time frame.
This is huge news for XFL fans worldwide! There’s still no news on when and how it will return, but so far Houston seems to be top of the list if the league plans on using the bubble concept seen in NBA and NHL. The sale should be final this August 7th, we’ll keep you posted as more information comes out on the future of the XFL.
What do you think of The Rock being associated with the XFL? Do you think him and his investors will be able to get the league off the ground for a 2021 return? Let us know down in the comments below of join the conversation on Discord.