On HBO’s Ballers, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson plays a former NFL player who ends up buying a team. Johnson is now poised to take it a step further in reality, as he is part of a group likely buying the XFL.
Johnson — along with Dany Garcia and RedBird Capital Partners — bid $15 million in bankruptcy court for the league, the only qualifying bid. Garcia would become the first woman, independent of a team, to own a sports league.
The sale must be approved by a bankruptcy judge at a hearing Friday. The XFL’s creditors, which are numbered between 1,000 and 5,000, filed an objection to the potential sale in court yesterday. The league, which was halted midseason in March, filed for bankruptcy in April with between $10 and $50 million in assets and liabilities.
Johnson said he expects to be heavily involved in the league, as he tends to be in his investments. RedBird Capital Partners, led by Gerry Cardinale, recently launched a $500 million special acquisition company focused on sports, called RedBall Acquisition. RedBird has stakes in the YES Network and French soccer team Toulouse Football Club.
The acquisition is seemingly a low-risk, high-reward investment for Johnson, who continues to diversify his life outside of acting. Johnson might also put ESPN at ease, which is attempting to alter or pull out of its XFL rights contract now that founder Vince McMahon is no longer involved.
The Rock In A Nutshell:
— Former University of Miami football player and WWE star.
— Forbes No. 10 Highest Paid Celebrity in 2020, raking in $87.5 million.
— 192 million followers on Instagram; 14.7 million followers on Twitter.
— Co-founder of multi-platform creative agency Seven Bucks Companies with Garcia, which produces the NBC show “The Titan Games,” which Johnson also hosts.
— Global partnership with Under Armour since 2016.
— Launched tequila brand Teremana this year.
— Ownership stake in ice cream chain Salt & Straw.
— Ownership stake in Voss Water.