Embattled XFL to Return in 2022, New Owners Say

    • Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital bought the league in August.
    • The next iteration of the XFL will be its third.

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The XFL plans to restart in the spring of 2022, owners Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson and Dany Garcia announced in a video on Twitter on Oct. 1. 

Johnson and Garcia, along with RedBird Capital, bought the embattled league in late August for $15 million. The next iteration of the XFL will be its third — WWE founder Vince McMahon, in partnership with NBC, first launched the XFL in 2001, but the effort failed a year later. 

McMahon then personally spent over $200 million to relaunch the eight-team league in 2018. The 2020 season kicked off in February, but couldn’t withstand the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and the league ceased operations in mid-April, filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. 

Prior to the sale, the XFL had pitched a 12-week “made-for-TV” 2021 season, ESPN reported in June. Garcia previously said the new owners were considering a 2021 “bubble” season in a single city. 

“For the love of football and for the safety of our players and fans, we’ll be back on the field in 2022,” XFL President and Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Pollack said in a statement. “The opportunity in front of us, with our new ownership, is simply too big to rush back. We want to do this properly with care and thought for everyone who loves football, especially our players, coaches, partners and fans.”

Johnson, a former professional wrestler and football player-turned-acting mogul, was the world’s highest-paid actor in 2019 – earning $89.4 million – according to Forbes. Garcia, Johnson’s business partner and former wife, is chairwoman and CEO of The Garcia Companies and TGC Management, and the two also founded Seven Bucks Productions.

RedBird founder and managing partner Gerry Cardinale has been involved with a number of high-profile sports endeavors, and the firm says it manages $4 billion in assets. Other sports projects include a stake in the YES Network — which Cardinale helped create — and majority ownership of Toulouse Football Club, a French soccer team.