Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, other partners purchase the XFL for $15 million, per reports

Could it mean a revival of the St. Louis BattleHawks?

Sam Masterson
August 03, 2020 - 9:54 am

(KFTK) - There could be a third life for the XFL as entertainment mogul Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and others have purchased the bankrupt football league, according to multiple sources.

The league was bought for $15 million according to a Sportico report and split evenly between Johnson and the founder of RedBird Capital investment firm Gerry Cardinale. ESPN has also confirmed the purchase. 

"The acquisition of the XFL with my friend and 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 said, according to ESPN. "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 teh players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football."

ESPN’s Kevin Seifert further confirms the report, saying the deal is contingent on court approval on August 7.

There's no word yet on what Johnson's plans are for the league, but there's some speculation that a TV-deal with NBC could be in store with his connections to the network: 

"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," writes the Sportico Editor and Chief.

Related: BattleHawks claim the title of 'best moment' from XFL's inaugural season
Related: St. Louis largest listed creditor in XFL bankruptcy filing

The XFL had eight franchises this season and played five games out of a planned 10-game schedule. It drew decent TV ratings early on and had deals with ESPN and Fox.

The league filed for bankruptcy in April.

The XFL's inaugural season was cut short due to the coronavirus, just before St. Louis was set to host Los Angeles and getting close to selling out the entire Dome at America's Center. 

All players will be paid their promised salary and benefits for the rest of this season and the league previously said it planned on playing a full season in 2021 and beyond.

All ticketholders – including the more than 40,000 who bought tickets for the Rock the Dome game scheduled for March 21 – were issued refunds or given credit toward future games.

But spring football is a difficult challenge, as the Alliance of American Football found out in 2019, not lasting a full season.

The XFL also played one season in 2001.

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