The Rock Buys Vince McMahon’s XFL Football League In $15 Million Deal
Vince McMahon’s XFL football league has been sold to Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as part of a $15 million deal.
The WWE legend’s league had filed for bankruptcy on April 10 this year, when its first season was cancelled due to the current pandemic. Despite a promising start – more than three million viewers on Fox in its first week – there was no longer any revenue coming in, sparking its collapse.
However, alongside Gerry Cardinale’s private equity investment firm RedBird Capital, The Rock has sunk a few million dollars into saving the XFL, mere hours before it was set to be auctioned.
Johnson – who played football at the University of Miami ahead of becoming a wrestler – along with RedBird Capital together paid $15 million for the league, split right down the middle, Sportico reports. Dany Garcia, a prominent businesswoman and Johnson’s ex-wife, will also be a stakeholder.
A statement from Johnson regarding the sale read, via Deadline:
The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, 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.
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.
The deal is still subject to bankruptcy court approval, which is expected to close on August 21. The new owners added they’ll now have ‘the ability to option live entertainment intellectual property for further expansion across sports, live events and original entertainment programming’ for the XFL.
The XFL was first brought to life via a deal between the then-WWF and NBC in 2001, playing for one season. It was then revived by McMahon earlier this year, shortly before ceasing operation once again.
Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, described the deal as ‘a Hollywood ending to our sale process and a start of fantastic new beginning for the XFL with the best possible ownership group going forward’.
Garcia also said: ‘Sports and entertainment are the foundations of the businesses I have built. Melding our expertise combined with our commitment to deliver exciting and inspiring unique content, has us all focused on developing the XFL brand into a multi-media experience that our athletes, partners and fans will proudly embrace and love’.
The XFL features different rules to the NFL, intended to make games a bit rougher, ‘at a little more of a faster pace and with a little more excitement’.
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