The Hollywood star, along with RedBird Capital Partners, purchased the league from WWE owner Vince McMahon for approximately $15 million shortly before the remaining XFL assets were scheduled to be auctioned off. Johnson himself played college football at the University of Miami

While RedBird Capital Partners is owned by Gerry Cardinale, the group of investors also includes Dany Garcia—Johnson’s ex-wife and current business partner.

“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, a multiple-time WWE champion himself, said in a statement.

“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.”

The XFL’s parent company filed for bankruptcy in April, three days after suspending operations entirely due to the novel coronavirus pandemic.

A month earlier, the league had pledged to return in 2021, having temporarily suspended the season as the COVID-19 outbreak ground sports to a halt.

However, within three weeks, Alpha Entertainment filed for bankruptcy on behalf of the league in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, listing the XFL with assets and liabilities each in the range of $10 million to $50 million.

“The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football,” the XFL said in a statement at the time.

“Unfortunately, as a new enterprise, we were not insulated from the harsh economic impacts and uncertainties caused by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Accordingly, we have filed a voluntary petition for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. This is a heartbreaking time for many, including our passionate fans, players and staff, and we are thankful to them, our television partners, and the many Americans who rallied to the XFL for the love of football.”

Originally launched in 2001, the XFL folded after its inaugural season. It was resurrected in January 2018 by Vince McMahon, the chairman and chief executive of professional wrestling body WWE and the owner Alpha Entertainment, the separate company the XFL was founded through.

However, the spring football league was dealt a crucial blow by the novel coronavirus pandemic.

According to the filings made public in April, the league had run up a list of thousands of creditors.

Broadcasting services provider Bexel NEP was the second-largest creditor on the list and was owed $1.2 million by the league four months ago, while seven of the league’s eight teams head coaches also feature among the league’s 25 biggest creditors.

Dwayne Johnson
Dwayne Johnson