By CultureBanx Team
- Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners have purchased the XFL for $15M
- The XFL generated nearly $20M in gross revenues in 2020
Former WWE star Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners have agreed to purchase the XFL for about $15 million. This comes after the XFL declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy back in April. The league averaged 1.9 million television viewers per game and generated nearly $20 million in gross revenues in 2020. It had projected $46 million in gross revenues for the 10-game season, but suspended play after five weeks, according to court filings. With Johnson’s new iteration of the he XFL comes new rules, new television contracts and an opportunity to tap into the market that made the NFL $8.78 billion during the 2018-2019 season.
Why This Matters: The XFL, like the NFL, is more than 70% black when it comes to players, with two of the league’s eight teams being helmed by black head coaches/general managers. In a bid to carve a market out of the NFL’s off-season, players had little say in how profits would be divided up. Previously, XFL contracts were non-negotiable and offered no rights to royalties or compensation for likeness, according to NBC Sports. This left the athletes of the league susceptible to exploitation, if or when the league becomes viable.
The XFL, like the NFL, is more than 70% black when it comes to players
While the XFL offers another professional football path for 460 players, all money ultimately flowed from the top. XFL owner Vince McMahon invested $200 million in the league’s second incarnation. Unlike the NFL, every team was owned and operated by the XFL, making every team singularly beholden to the league and allowing policies to be unilaterally passed.
Since Johnson and his investors got the league for a steal, they should be able to capitalize as the XFL already had Disney (DIS +0.81%) owned ESPN and ABC, along with Fox as its broadcasting partners. Not to mention that as a single-entity league, Sports Illustrated reported that all revenue from television rights, ticket sales and endorsements went straight to the XFL to be distributed. This is drastically different from how privately-owned NFL teams mix league-wide revenue sharing with local revenue.
What’s Next: The sale must be approved by a bankruptcy judge at a hearing this Friday. In the meantime, Johnson and RedBird Capital are making plans to play next season, according to ESPN.
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