Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and business partner Dany Garcia, alongside investment firm RedBird Capital, announced today that they’re buying substantially all the assets of Alpha Entertainment, parent company of the XFL, for $15 million.
The league, which WWE president and CEO Vince McMahon launched in 2001, initially lasted just one season and lost an estimated $70 million. It was marketed as a wilder version of the NFL—the rules required chaotic scrambles rather than coin tosses, for example, and the players were permitted dramatic hits and showboating that are banned in the NFL.
The XFL made a short-lived comeback this year with eight teams, but the season was canceled in April after just five games due to the novel coronavirus pandemic. After that, the league suspended operations and went bankrupt.
The new deal is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing on Friday. As long as closing conditions are approved, the sale will be finalized shortly after Aug. 21.
Johnson called the buy “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,” he said. “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.”
But without an effective strategy for keeping Covid-19 at bay during sporting events, it’s unclear when the XFL could resume play. With baseball’s recent comeback already looking rocky, questions around an NFL season this fall continue to circulate.
If sticking to a similar calendar as the pandemic-shortened 2020 season, the 2021 XFL season would theoretically begin around the time of the Super Bowl, picking up where the NFL leaves off. A spokesperson for Johnson and Garcia did not respond to Adweek’s question regarding when fans can expect the next XFL season.
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