I really wanted to like the XFL.
Sadly, much like countless other businesses during this pandemic, it was shut down in its infancy, a mere five weeks into its inaugural season.
In the time since, there were mass layoffs and bankruptcy filings, and hours before the league was set to go to auction, Bleacher Report reports that it was snatched up for a cool $15 million by an ownership group comprised of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and RedBird Capital. Johnson’s ex-wife and business partner, Dany Garcia, is also a stakeholder.
“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale [of RedBird Capital], is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things—my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said in a statement. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”
In 2018, wrestling mogul Vince McMahon revealed his plans to revive the XFL, a professional football league that could serve as a springboard for athletes to eventually ascend into the NFL. McMahon expressed his intention to invest as much as $500 million into the endeavor, however, shortly after it’s debut in February, the onset of the coronavirus pandemic forced the league to suspend operations indefinitely. In April, McMahon filed for bankruptcy protection and on Monday, Johnson and his ownership group acquired the XFL hours before it was set to go to auction.
“We are grateful for today’s outcome,” Jeffrey Pollack, XFL President and COO, told Yahoo Finance. “This is a Hollywood ending to our sale process and it is an exciting new chapter for the league. Dwayne, Dany and Gerry are a dream team ownership group and the XFL is in the best possible hands going forward.”
While Johnson has yet to announce his plans for the league, this would be its third shot at becoming a viable source of entertainment for football fans. In 2001, the league folded upon the conclusion of its inaugural season.