Miami football legend Dwayne Johnson agrees to buy XFL for $15M

(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images)
(Photo by Doug Benc/Getty Images) /

Miami football alum Dwayne Johnson who has become an entertainment legend is returning to his roots with news he is part of a group that has agreed to buy the XFL for $15 million.

Dwayne Johnson who was a defensive lineman for the Miami football program in the 1990s has agreed to buy the XFL for $15 million. The news that Johnson is partnering with his ex-wife and a fellow Miami alum Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale was announced via social media and press release.

Johnson became a star wrestler in WWE who is owned by Vince McMahon the creator and previous XFL owner. The XFL was founded and began play in 2001. After one failed spring season the XFL folded. McMahon brought the league back this spring. Financial problems and the worldwide Covid-19 pandemic caused a shutdown.

The XFL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 13. The league has spent three months trying to find a buyer. McMahon invested $200 million into the 2020 version of the XFL. The XFL played five weeks of games in 2020 before the league with the rest of the sports world shutdown in mid-March because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Johnson who has become a worldwide entertainment star and mogul will hope to fuse his own personality and business acumen with his partners to create a spring alternative to the NFL. With the connections that Johnson has in the sports and entertainment world Johnson should be able to create a product fans enjoy.

"“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.”"

Johnson was quoted with the outlook of what he hopes to create with Garcia and Cardinale by ESPN. XFL president and CEO Jeffrey Pollack stated that the sale to Johnson, Garcia and Cardinale “a Hollywood ending (and) a dream team ownership group and the XFL is in the best possible hands going forward.”

Cardinale and his group, RedBird recently purchased the French soccer team Toulouse Football Club for $125 million and works with a company involved in commercial rights for the NFL. Johnson and his partners have not released any plans about how they will proceed with how the XFL will operate.

XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, the father of former Indianapolis Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was fired by McMahon on April 9. Luck filed an $23.8 million lawsuit for wrongful termination. Luck has experience as the general manager of two teams in NFL Europe, was the athletic director at West Virginia and an NCAA vice president.

The XFL averaged 1.9 million television views per game in 2020 and had only $20 million in gross revenues during the second iteration of the league. The expectation was for the league to generate $46 million in revenues for a 10 game season in initiation expectations. The league has a lot to work on to succeed.

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Johnson will hopefully be able to use his connections from his Miami football career to boost the XFL. Getting former teammates and other Hurricanes alums involved in the league could provide the stability the league needs. Miami football alums have been a part of the NFL success since the 1980s dynasty.