Dwayne Johnson part of group that has purchased the XFL for $15 million

Originally published at https://www.postwrestling.com/2020/08/03/dwayne-johnson-part-of-group-that-has-purchased-the-xfl-for-15-million/

The XFL has been sold and once again, its ownership group includes someone with heavy ties to professional wrestling in Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.

On Monday morning, Scott Soshnick of Sportico was the first to report that Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia is part of a team with Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital that purchased the league prior to a scheduled auction.

The purchase price is being reported as $15 million that Sportico reports that was split evenly among the team making the purchase.

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert has the following quote from Johnson:

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.

Cardinale is the founder and managing partner of RedBird Capital. He previously worked at Goldman Sachs for 20 years. RedBird Capital describes itself as a “private investment firm focused on building high-growth companies with flexible, long-term capital in partnership with our Entrepreneur & Family Office Network.”

This past April, XFL parent company Alpha Entertainment filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following the suspension of the XFL’s operations and laying off most of its staff.

The bankruptcy filing listed the XFL’s assets and liabilities is each in the range of $10-50 million.

The XFL’s first iteration occurred in 2001, one year after Vince McMahon announced plans to form the league. He later partnered with NBC with the league folding after one season despite solid television viewership during the first week but gradually plummeted. McMahon made the announcement in January 2018 that he was reviving the league with two years of planning before it re-launched.

Week 1 of the revamped XFL saw viewership average 3,188,000 across four games on ABC, Fox, and ESPN. They also delivered an average of 1,333,000 viewers in the coveted 18-49 demographic.

By Week 5, network viewership averaged 1,522,000 and their cable games on ESPN & FS 1 averaged 800,000 viewers.

In a filing from this past May, McMahon’s legal representatives stated that McMahon put “at least” $200 million of his own money in the league, according to a report from ESPN that month. They included a deposition that was footnoted in the filing from McMahon indicating he would not be attempting to buy back the league:

I don’t know why that’s out there, making me out to be the bad guy, I’m going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically. That helped me move into the direction of, ‘I’m not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it.’ I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive.

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Does anyone else have more faith now that the XFL could be revitalized with The Rock having a stake in it than when McMahon was in charge?

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I thought Ballers ended! Leave it to DJ to live it in real life :sweat_smile:

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Rock is pretty notoriously image conscious, so I assume the plan he and his team have for XFL is more exciting than what Vince McMahon could’ve done long term.

I still have low expectations, but I’m a bit more optimistic. The 2020 product had been okay, not great. Much improved from the first incarnation, but like most Vince McMahon projects, he failed to hold steady ratings


So Vince sinks 200 million into a project that has been bought for peanuts. (I’m assuming that Dwayne’s group has to cover the debts?)

Anyhow, can’t see Vince being in a good mood

Dwayne will know what he’s doing more as a former player. Their best bet is trying to get a direct partnership with the NFL to be a feeder league.

I have no doubt that the XFL will be a successful franchise of some sorts and wouldn’t be surprised to see it not as a league but some other product for TV networks to bid on.

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It’s almost like, outside of the weird carny world of wrestling, Vince is a crappy businessman


It’s also like even within the weird carny world of wrestling, he has failed upwards and not due to his own intelligence (at least in the last 20 years)

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Without the crazy luck of the Rock and Austin in the late 90s, Vince arguably could have lost.


To be clear: I am not suggesting Vince hasn’t been successful or a good business man, I’m saying he has an ability to fail upwards which is in large part being in the right place at the right time and having economies of scale.

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I think the words you’re looking for are simply rich and privileged.

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Eh, that’s Stephanie and Shane. Vince built his empire. I’m not willing to take all credit away from him. I mostly look at the last 20-25 years.

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Agreed. No doubt he was rich and privileged in that he started with his father’s money (and company), but the personal financial risks he has taken, particularly in the 1980s en route to “going national,” have been huge. Definitely not just following dad’s blueprint and making bank like your stereotypical “trust fund kid.”

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Does the nfl actually need a developmental league?


Say what want about Vince, especially some of his creative decisions recently, but there is no doubt that he built an empire and if it was so easy we wouldn’t have seen promotion after promotion fail at doing the same thing over the past 40 years.

I get some people don’t like him, but if you let your emotions dictate your analysis of his business acumen, you’re just not being honest with yourself.

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I think they should, just like MLB has A, AA, and AAA. NHL has the AHL, and NBA now has the G league.

XFL should just play at the same time as the NFL, and allow NFL teams to call players up/send players down. This would give players more stability and we would likely see less cuts week to week.

Why bother when they have the NCAA doing it for free?

There’s nothing wrong with a spring football league idea. I think they keep whatever direction they had before.

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Well its not the same thing. NCAA is where players play before they are drafted, what I am talking about is a league that plays along side the NFL where teams have the ability to send players down if they are not going to get playing time on the main club.

NBA does this with the G-League and has had great success, and like the NFL they also get their recruits from the NCAA. So many NFL teams draft players only to cut them or not play them because they are not game ready. This would allow teams to be able to call players up, send them down throughout the season, also allowing the players to further develop opposed to just sitting on the sidelines.

This is how Pascal Siakam got his start on the Raptors 905.

Football players careers don’t last long enough for there to be a developmental league like that, no point.