The Rock Announces Deal to Buy XFL Is Official, Congratulates Partners

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 21, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 5, 2019 file photo, actor Dwayne Johnson poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film 'Jumanji The Next Level', in central London.   Johnson will revisit his younger years in a new NBC comedy series called “The Rock,” which is the retired pro wrestler's nickname. NBC said Saturday, Jan. 11, 2020  that it's ordered 11 episodes of the show inspired by Johnson, who will appear and also serve as an executive producer.  (Photo by Joel C Ryan/Invision/AP)
Joel C Ryan/Associated Press

Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson announced Friday that his purchase of the XFL is now official:

Dwayne Johnson @TheRock

The deal is official closed and “the keys” to the XFL have been handed over. I humbly accept and promise to put my callouses to hard work building our new brand. Congrats to my partners @DanyGarciaCo & #GerryCardinale and our sharp, hungry team. #XFLOwner #ForTheLoveOfFootball https://t.co/ctwRlewxxA

Johnson's business partner and ex-wife, Dany Garcia, also tweeted about her excitement over being a part owner of the league:

Dany Garcia @DanyGarciaCo

The deal is officially closed! Excited & humbled to be the first woman to ever own an American major sports league. A big thank you to @TheRock & #GerryCardinale & our incredible teams for all their work the past few months. More #bigmoves to come! #xflowner #ForTheLoveOfFootball https://t.co/pHxSqaenRa

It was announced this month that a group headed by Johnson had purchased the XFL for $15 million. The news release noted that the ownership group is hoping to have a season as soon as 2021 with a bubble concept in place amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The original XFL was founded by WWE Chairman Vince McMahon and launched in 2001. The ratings were a success initially, but they dropped sharply over the course of the season and the league folded after just one year.

McMahon brought the XFL back this year, and it once again had strong ratings out of the gate, only for them to fall. The league received praise for some of its unique rules and the in-game sideline interviews of players after big plays.

Even so, the league ceased operations because of the COVID-19 pandemic and declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy in April.

Johnson, who rose to prominence under McMahon in WWE during the 1990s and 2000s before becoming one of the biggest stars in Hollywood, is the type of big-name owner who could potentially help the XFL become a long-term success.

The Rock has deep pockets and knows how to promote a product, so perhaps the third iteration of the XFL will be the one that manages to last more than one season.