The XFL been sold to a group that includes former WWE star Dwayne ”The Rock”Johnson, giving the bankrupt football league the kind of star power that may draw even non-sports fans.
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.
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.
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.