When Vince McMahon declared the closure of the XFL following a pandemic-shortened 2020 season and subsequently filed for bankruptcy, it seemed like the end for the fledgling football league. However, a glimmer of hope emerged as Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, Dany Garcia, and RedBird Capital made an acquisition move in 2021, setting the stage for a revival.
This year marked the XFL's comeback season, culminating in a fierce championship face-off where the Arlington Renegades bested the DC Defenders. Fans nationwide tuned in as games were broadcast across several platforms, including ESPN, FX, and various other networks.
Forbes reported that ESPN paid the league a hefty $20 million per season, an investment reflective of the network's confidence in the XFL's potential. However, the road to profitability is not without its financial hiccups, as the league lost an estimated $60 million in its inaugural year under the new ownership.
Yet, the XFL is determined to look beyond the temporary setbacks, forecasting an ambitious $100 million in revenue for the upcoming season. Garcia, serving as the XFL's chair, emphasized their financial preparedness for the challenges ahead, stating, "We're extremely well-capitalized for the long-term." Garcia drew parallels between the XFL's journey and WWE's evolution, identifying the XFL as their "new WWE," their next "massive live property."
The Rock's Long-Term Commitment
Adding to Garcia's sentiments, The Rock highlighted their commitment to the XFL.
"This is not just an endeavor that’s going to fill up a portfolio and one day we flip it, and we’re out," he said. Instead, he cast their involvement with the XFL in a grander light, referring to it as "legacy" and "the long game." Despite significant financial setbacks in the league's inaugural year, both The Rock and Garcia remain undeterred.
Their comments underscore a steadfast commitment to the XFL's potential and a vision that extends beyond immediate profit. Their ambition is to mold the XFL into an enduring and profitable venture that stands as a robust testament to the tenacity and resilience embodied by the spirit of football itself.