The XFL has been around … and then not around … and then around again throughout this century. During this span, it’s gone through multiple iterations, led by multiple owners. What’s the history of XFL’s ownership, and who owns it today?
Who Owns the XFL?
The XFL originally launched in 2001, owned through a joint venture between the National Broadcasting Corporation and the World Wrestling Foundation. The league folded after one season.
Then, in 2018, Alpha Entertainment took over league ownership, and a new season was launched in 2020. But just as with many other professional sports leagues, the season was curtailed due to the pandemic.
In the aftermath, a new ownership group formed, led by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia, and Gerry Cardinale. Their partnership, officially termed “Alpha Acquico, LLC,” is a joint venture between The Garcia Companies and Redbird Capital Partners Management LLC.
How Much Did Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson, Others Pay for the XFL?
While Johnson is the big name behind the new ownership group, Alpha Acquico, LLC runs the show. This entity purchased the XFL for $15 million, only hours before a scheduled auction of the league.
As for Johnson, with a net worth reportedly around $320 million as of 2020, he certainly brings plenty of financial leverage to the arrangement, particularly for a league that has started and stopped twice — and is hoping to stay afloat for the long term.
What Happened to the XFL?
For many decades, various leagues have popped up, seeking to wrestle dominion of American football away from the NFL. Forty years ago, the United States Football League (USFL) pounced onto the scene, loaded with talent and a seemingly impressive business plan. The result? Numerous players became household names and went on to become NFL Hall of Famers.
The problem? It’s tough for non-NFL leagues to generate and sustain anything close to NFL-level excitement and engagement.
The XFL is no exception, having lost tens of millions of dollars in its first year of operation in 2001. As with many sports, a league is only as strong as its support level. To what extent does the fandom grow? To what extent do the players appear to be among the best in the world rather than merely guys who couldn’t cut it at the next level?
The 2001 version of the XFL brought attitude, including permitting more hitting and more trash-talking, including by public address announcers (i.e. announcers trash-talking, not announcers hitting each other).
But it didn’t catch on, and it took nearly two decades for the XFL to return. A scaled-back version of its former self, the 2020 season looked promising. Had it been operating for several years before then, it might have withstood the economic pains of losing the rest of its season to pandemic-related precautions.
Instead, its momentum halted before it had time to cement itself as an entrenched part of sports culture.
Who Are the Teams in the New XFL?
The 2023 iteration of the XFL is divided into two four-team divisions. The North Division features:
- D.C. Defenders
- Seattle Sea Dragons
- St. Louis BattleHawks
- Vegas Vipers
Meanwhile, the South Division includes:
- Arlington Renegades
- Houston Roughnecks
- Orlando Guardians
- San Antonio Brahmas