The upstart XFL is seeking new equity investors to join the football league coinciding with the launch of play in February. Investment bank PJT Partners has been retained to identify those potential partners.
The XFL is owned by Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital. The group bought the league out of bankruptcy from a Vince McMahon entity two years ago. The trio have been funding the league and are committed to continuing to fund the XFL’s startup efforts, according to a person familiar with the search for new investors, who asked not to be named because the matter is private. The XFL and RedBird Capital had no comment; PJT Partners declined immediate comment.
The trio paid $15 million for the league as well as assuming the league’s debt and payments of up to $9.2 million to settle contracts entered under McMahon’s ownership, which came to an abrupt end when the coronavirus pandemic spiked completion of the XFL’s inaugural season.
The league recently struck a four-year deal with The Walt Disney Co. to carry regular season and playoff games, primarily on ESPN. The league is also collaborating with the NFL on player safety and game data technology.
PJT Partners is a publicly traded investment bank that has extensive experience in the sports arena, including as financial advisor to sportsbook William Hill on its acquisition by Caesars Entertainment. Part of PJT’s responsibilities with the XFL search is ensuring potential equity investors share the vision of the current ownership group on the development and commercialization of the XFL, according to the person familiar with the transaction.
The reconstituted XFL will commence on Feb. 18 with eight teams. Details on the season and schedule have yet to be released.