Sports | August 3, 2020 10:24 am

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Buys XFL for $15 Million

Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital bought the league hours before an auction was set to begin

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson Buys XFL for $15 Million
Dwayne Johnson attends a Hand and Footprint ceremony honoring Kevin Hart. (Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Getty)
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Former college football player Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson is stepping into the ring of pro sports ownership with a little help from an investment firm that already has ties to the NFL and Ligue 2.

Johnson and RedBird Capital purchased the XFL for $15 million on Monday morning, hours before a bankruptcy auction of the failed football league was scheduled to begin, according to Sportico.

The 48-year-old, who played college football at the University of Miami and is one of Hollywood’s most popular and bankable actors, put up half of the bid himself, and his business partner and ex-wife Dany Garcia will also be a stakeholder.

“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,” Johnson told Kevin Seifert of ESPN. “With pride and gratitude for all 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 XFL was founded — and funded — by WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon, a man Johnson has a relationship thanks to his time as a pro wrestler.

The rebooted version of the XFL folded after just five weeks of play as the COVID-19 pandemic was just beginning, but did make $46 million in revenue during its abbreviated season and drew 1.9 million television viewers each week on average.

Despite the signs of success, the league was forced to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April and sacked all of its employees. Now, with ultra-marketable Johnson attached to the league, the chances of the XFL making a comeback seem much better than they did yesterday.

RedBird, which recently bought France-based Toulouse Football Club, is a “principal investment firm which provides flexible, long-term capital to help entrepreneurs grow their businesses.” Founded by the aforementioned Gerald Cardinale, RedBird has over $4 billion of equity.

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