The Rock and RedBird Capital Buy XFL

According to Sportico, Dwayne “The Rock’’ Johnson and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital have bought the XFL for $15 million.

In April, the XFL filed for bankruptcy. 

After another failed attempt, the narrative is that spring football isn’t a viable option. However, pre-pandemic, the Vince McMahon-led XFL 2.0 had promise. While the ratings were declining, its last week on broadcast television — Week 5 — averaged 1.5 million viewers. That’s an NBA and MLB number. 

The interest is there for the XFL to make a comeback. The Rock will need to make changes, however. First and foremost, the league would need to attract known players. Star power drives the sports discussion, the XFL had none of that.

Ideally, the XFL, under The Rock and Cardinale, could pay players enough to bypass years of college football. It has to be worth the risk. If it can, spring football would attract NFL fans to the product as a pathway to the country’s number 1 sports league. 

If The Rock is to turn the XFL into a sustainable business, it’ll need far better QB play. This past spring, lackluster names and play at the most important position derailed the XFL.

Finally, sports gambling is key. Upstart leagues must deal with the challenges of fans lacking a passion for its teams and players. A financial interest (a reason to care) would immerse at least some viewers into the product. Sports betting creates a unique opportunity for spring football.

Written by Bobby Burack

Bobby Burack covers media, politics, and sports at OutKick.

9 Comments

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  1. I enjoyed the XFL, but I think they’re going to be in for a tough spring season with lower tier college football being played simultaneously. The XFL is okay, but I would much rather watch FCS football or even D2 football.

  2. I’m curious what he will do with this league? Sure, it’s pennies on the dollar, but it would have to take 5-10x that to operate, right? It makes you wonder if covid has not interrupted would it have continued or folded anyway?

  3. As a St. Louisian this is encouraging to see. There was a legit buzz and excitement around the Battlehawks this spring. No one was under the delusion that it was the NFL. It wasn’t trying to be. It was fun, exciting, and gave the city a good dose of civic pride. I’m optimistic that this can work.

    With that said, $15 million seems like a great bargain for a league that Vince invested like half a billion in. I wonder what their financing plans are.

  4. I was actually beginning to look forward more to the XFL than the NFL. That could be because I felt the NFL was getting stale and I liked what the XFL was doing (speeding up the game, more scoring options after TDs, etc), it could also be because I’m a die-hard Giants fan and the last decade has been… Knicksian.

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