The XFL has had terrible, terrible luck. Owned by Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment and controlled by WWE and NBC, the league returned at the worst possible time this year. After building up buzz as making a huge comeback, the new season barely lasted a few short weeks. Now, the XFL may make a return one day, thanks to powerhouse producer Dany Garcia and former wrestler and football player, the great Dwayne Johnson.
What Happened to the XFL?
COVID-19 led to a cancelled season. Soon after the league closed down, the owners filed for Chapter 11 and explained their reasons and disappointment:
“The XFL quickly captured the hearts and imaginations of millions of people who love football….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.”
The New Deal
Johnson, of course, has a long history with the WWE and football; he played college ball for Miami. The XFL was on the verge of a bankruptcy auction, but it was canceled after Johnson, Garcia, and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird bought the league for $15 million. XFL president, Jeffrey Pollack, calls the deal “a Hollywood ending.” The deal will close around August 21st (via THR).
Big Plans for the XFL
The XFL is in especially good hands now with Garcia and Johnson. The two are behind Seven Bucks Entertainment, which is one of the more prominent production companies in Hollywood. They go big and succeed. According to Garcia, Johnson and her plan involve “developing the XFL brand into a multimedia experience that our athletes, partners, and fans will proudly embrace and love.” If anyone can take the XFL to the next level and gain it the popularity it deserves, it’s Garcia and Johnson. They know how to please global audiences.
A Word From Johnson
The funny thing is, this feels like a subplot straight out of Dwayne Johnson’s HBO show, Ballers. This is a Spencer Strassmore move, no question. He’d absolutely buy the XFL in the show. The league’s assets were valued between $10 million and $50 million, with liabilities around the same figures. In a statement, Johnson said:
“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.”
The XFL Has Great Potential
The football league hasn’t ever had time to grow. The league has never had time to build a large following, but considering all the football fans in the United States, the audience is there for a football season when the NFL isn’t around. The XFL is fun, fast, and just a slightly different beast but still football. There’s potential. It doesn’t have or need the NFL’s success, but under Johnson and Garcia’s guidance, it’s easy to imagine a future in which the XFL lasts more than a year and stirs up real excitement and passion among a large-scale audience. If anyone knows how to get a property to a global audience, it’s Johnson.