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Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson purchases the XFL after the spring football league’s bankruptcy

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Actor and former wrestling star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson is reportedly part of a group of investors who are buying the XFL for $15 million after the spring football league went bankrupt in its return season amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Sportico reported Monday that Johnson and RedBird Capital’s Gerry Cardinale bought league together hours before it was set to be auctioned. The two reportedly split the purchase evenly, although Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia is also expected to be a stakeholder, according to Sportico.

Johnson, 48, previously played football at the University of Miami, where he won a national title in 1991 before following in his father Rocky’s footsteps and becoming a wrestler.

Actor and former wrestling star Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson (left) is reportedly part of a group of investors who are buying the XFL for $15 million after the spring football league went bankrupt in its return season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sportico reported Monday that Johnson and RedBird Capital's Gerry Cardinale bought league together hours before it was set to be auctioned. The two reportedly split the purchase evenly, although Johnson's ex-wife Dany Garcia (right) is also expected to be a stakeholder, according to Sportico

Actor and former wrestling star Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson (left) is reportedly part of a group of investors who are buying the XFL for $15 million after the spring football league went bankrupt in its return season amid the coronavirus pandemic. Sportico reported Monday that Johnson and RedBird Capital’s Gerry Cardinale bought league together hours before it was set to be auctioned. The two reportedly split the purchase evenly, although Johnson’s ex-wife Dany Garcia (right) is also expected to be a stakeholder, according to Sportico

Oliver Luck filed a federal lawsuit last month over his April 9 termination, alleging McMahon breached their contract. The long-time football executive, former Houston Oilers quarterback and father of retired Indianapolis Colts star Andrew Luck is seeking $23.8 million, a figure released in court documents Wednesday

Lawyers for XFL owner Vince McMahon argued in court files Wednesday that the wrestling magnate was justified in firing the spring football league's CEO Oliver Luck because he abandoned his role as commissioner as the league was shutting down due to the coronavirus crisis.

The XFL was originally launched by WWE CEO Vince McMahon (right) and NBC in 2001, but folded after one season of spring football. McMahon spent $200 million restarting the league for the 2020 season, according to his attorneys. Although a whopping 3 million viewers tuned in for the first week of games, the audience was about half that size five weeks later when play stopped due to the pandemic. The league went bankrupt in April, leading to a legal battle between McMahon and XFL commissioner Oliver Luck (left), who filed a $23.8 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the wrestling mogul 

The XFL suspended operations and laid off all of its employees on April 10 and filed for bankruptcy protection on April 13

The XFL suspended operations and laid off all of its employees on April 10 and filed for bankruptcy protection on April 13

The XFL was originally launched by WWE CEO Vince McMahon and NBC in 2001, but folded after one season of spring football.

McMahon spent $200 million restarting the league for the 2020 season, according to his attorneys.

Although a whopping 3 million viewers tuned in for the first week of games, the audience was about half that size five weeks later when play stopped due to the pandemic.

The league went bankrupt in April, leading to a legal battle between McMahon and XFL commissioner Oliver Luck, who filed a $23.8 million wrongful termination lawsuit against the wrestling mogul.

In his lawsuit, Luck attached part of his agreement, signed by McMahon, that ‘irrevocably and unconditionally’ guaranteed his $20 million salary.

McMahon claims Luck was fired for cause.

Johnson, 48, previously played football at the University of Miami (pictured), where he won a national title in 1991 before following in his father Rocky's footsteps and becoming a wrestler

Johnson, 48, previously played football at the University of Miami (pictured), where he won a national title in 1991 before following in his father Rocky’s footsteps and becoming a wrestler

Despite the XFL’s financial problems, its global investment bank, Houlihan Lokey, told The Athletic in May that there were several bidders. One likely reason is the fact that the XFL relies on television revenue, as opposed to ticket sales, which could be prohibited in 2021 if the pandemic continues.  

‘I understand the Debtor has modeled for 2021 a made-for-TV, 12-week tournament-style approach to its business, since the XFL is particularly well suited for a crowd-free experience that could thrive in the current environment, given its existing innovations such as in-game audio from players and coaches and live on-screen sports wagering information,’ Houlihan managing partner William Hardie said.

In its bankruptcy filing, the XFL’s parent company, Alpha Entertainment, said the league had $10 million in assets and $50 million in liabilities.

At a May bankruptcy hearing, McMahon vowed not to buy the XFL back at auction.

‘I don’t know why that’s out there, making me out to be the bad guy … I’m going to buy the XFL back for pennies on the dollar, basically,’ McMahon said in the deposition, as reported by ESPN. ‘That helped me move into the direction of, ‘I’m not going to be a bidder, not going to have anything to do with it.’ I do hope that someone will pay a lot of money for it, and I do hope that it will survive.’

James Butler #28 of the Houston Roughnecks celebrates with the crowd after thinking he scored on a run during the second quarter against the Seattle Dragons during an XFL game at TDECU Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Houston

James Butler #28 of the Houston Roughnecks celebrates with the crowd after thinking he scored on a run during the second quarter against the Seattle Dragons during an XFL game at TDECU Stadium on March 7, 2020 in Houston

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