New XFL ownership after $15M sale: starring Dany Garcia and The Rock
Rock, paper, for sale, sold! Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia look to continue building their empire as part of the new XFL ownership group.
Almost four months after the XFL shut its doors in mid-April, there is, once again, new life in the XFL. 2020 put the biggest blindside hit on the world, sports were no exception, and as quick as the XFL came to life it seemed to be down for the count.
The season started and the enthusiasm built with each passing week. Fan bases grew, national TV audiences tuned in, players like PJ Walker put on dazzling shows week in and week out, and BattleHawk Nation kawed their loudest kakaw.
But just like that, on March 12, the XFL saw its inaugural season come to a heartbreaking end with the emergence of the novel coronavirus.
Former XFL owner Vince McMahon watched as his redemption efforts for a second professional football league once again came crashing down. McMahon was the primary financier of the XFL’s return in 2020, losing the league mid-season, and all the growing momentum was too much for the famed WWE businessman to endure.
McMahon’s XFL filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 13th.
In only a 5-week season, the XFL began to show its potential as an alternate NFL. The value from the strong start carried forward to the auction of the company.
Big Names in the Big Sale
Enough value to sell for $15 million at auction on August 3rd to the star-powered partnership of Dany Garcia, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, and RedBird Capital.
Garcia and Johnson are co-founders of Seven Bucks Productions. Seven Bucks is known for the production of movie box-office hits with the likes of Hobbs and Shaw, Jumanji, and Rampage; all starring Johnson in a lead role.
The name of their production company stems from Johnson’s stint in the Canadian Football League. After being cut, Johnson had only seven bucks to his name. The XFL is the group’s latest challenge to take from rags to riches.
Garcia is now the first woman to own an entire sports league independent from a team, and was cited as being the instrumental piece in pulling the deal together for the group.
Johnson took to Twitter to share his excitement on the deal writing:
“With gratitude & passion I’ve built a career with my own two hands and will apply these callouses to our @xfl2020 brand. Excited to create something special for the fans!”
With my trail blazing partner @DanyGarciaCo & Red Bird Capital, we have acquired the XFL.
With gratitude & passion I’ve built a career with my own two hands and will apply these callouses to our @xfl2020 brand.
Excited to create something special for the fans! #XFL #fullcircle pic.twitter.com/LprJ6HjglD
— Dwayne Johnson (@TheRock) August 3, 2020
The deal is expected to be confirmed in a hearing on August 7th and close on August 21st.
Third Times a Charm
In what will be the leagues now third attempt at establishing a secondary football league, the new ownership group will look to put all the pieces (back) together to establish and sustain the XFL one more time.
The XFL seen early in 2020 was successful though short-lived. The front office had established and respected football personnel leading the charge. A competitive product was put on the field, and arguably an even better product put on TV.
Garcia has already shown early agreement at the potential to bring back operational talent that supported the XFL earlier this year. This emphasizes that this comeback is not tearing the league down by any means but will look to build on the momentum that was once taking the industry by storm.
The success seen in the 2020 season is the new baseline for the league. The game that returns by no means can be less polished than the previous. To re-engage the XFL fan base and have any shot at bringing more to the league an even better, more refined, and more game pioneering innovation needs to hit the field.
Surely discussed as part of the purchase, is the status of the TV deal the XFL had with Fox and ABC/ESPN. Last week, it was reported by Daniel Kaplan of TheAthletic.com that the TV partners were trying to get out of the TV deal citing the looming sale. Fox/ABC/ESPN gave the XFL legitimacy through their familiar football broadcasting. National coverage on these stations brought the XFL into homes, and gave the league more exposure than previous alternate NFL leagues.
As more details around the deal and future league proceedings come to light, the broadcasting deal will be a significant development to watch .
There is plenty to look forward to with the new rebirth of the XFL. The league has retained its potential as an alternate football league and excitement should be back in the air.