Dany Garcia Among the New Owners of the XFL

It’s game on for Dany Garcia

The 51-year-old Cuban American businesswoman and producer, her former husband Dwayne Johnson and RedBird Capital Partners have bought the XFL, a twice-unsuccessful professional football alternative to the NFL fronted by WWE chief Vince McMahon, for $15 million.

Dany Garcia

Garcia and her business partners were selected as the winning bidder for the assets controlled by Alpha Entertainment, the parent company of the XFL.

The transaction is subject to bankruptcy court approval at a hearing this Friday. Assuming that closing conditions are satisfied, the acquisition is expected to close on or shortly after August 21.

In announcing the deal, Garcia and her fellow projected new owners said they have secured “the ability to option live entertainment intellectual property for further expansion across sports, live events and original entertainment programming.”

The XFL, which had two single-season attempts to go up against the NFL, one in 2000 and the second this year, was fronted by McMahon and the WWE, which owned a 23.5% stake in the league. After starting its season in February, the XFL was forced to shut down due to COVID-19 in March. It filed for bankruptcy in April.

“For Dwayne, Gerry and myself, this property represents an incredible opportunity. It is the confluence of great passion, tradition and possibility” Garcia said. “Sports and entertainment are the foundations of the businesses I have built. Melding our expertise combined with our commitment to deliver exciting and inspiring unique content, has us all focused on developing the XFL brand into a multi-media experience that our athletes, partners and fans will proudly embrace and love.”

Johnson has a connection to the sport, having played college football at Miami.

“The acquisition of the XFL with my talented partners, Dany Garcia and Gerry Cardinale, is an investment for me that’s rooted deeply in two things – my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans,” Johnson said. “With pride and gratitude for all that I’ve built with my own two hands, I plan to apply these callouses to the XFL, and look forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

Jeffrey Pollack, president and COO of the XFL, called it a “Hollywood ending” to the process of seeking a sale.

Garcia and Johnson are co-founders of Seven Bucks Companies, a multi-platform enterprise pioneering original content for television, film, emerging technologies and digital networks.

RedBird was founded by former Goldman Sachs partner Cardinale. He has orchestrated a range of major sports deals over the past 20 years involving his clients and teams like the New York Yankees, Dallas Cowboys as well as leagues like the NFL.

The XFL was the latest in a long line of failed attempts to dislodge the NFL from its perch as the No. 1 sports league in America. Football fans haven’t tuned in en masse for leagues like the Alliance of American Football, the United States Football League or the World Football League.

The first XFL season, in 2000, provided a brief summertime splash in the ratings for NBC, which was a part-owner of the league at the time, before quickly fading.

The latest iteration of the XFL differed from the first attempt in that it didn’t try to amp up the violence or present more scantily clad cheerleaders. Kickoffs, a routine feature of games that experts have linked to high rates of concussions, underwent a dramatic change in the XFL, with teams lining up close to each other so as to eliminate running-start collisions. Other innovations included microphones on the sidelines, enabling fans to follow the game in more detail.

Toronto Blue Jays to Celebrate Tony Fernandez with Special Uniform Patch This Season

Tony Fernandez is being honored in a special way by his old team…

The Toronto Blue Jays will celebrate the late Dominican professional baseball player and Major League Baseball legend, who passed away earlier this year, by wearing a patch with his No. 1 on the left sleeve of uniform jerseys this season.

Tony Fernandez

A member of Toronto’s 1993 World Series champions who had nine RBIs in the six-game win over the Philadelphia Phillies, Fernandez had kidney problems and died on February 16 at age 57.

He is the Blue Jays’ career leader in games (1,450), hits (1,583) and triples (72). He spent 12 seasons with Toronto in four stints and had a .288 batting average and 2,276 hits over 17 big league seasons. Fernandez also played for the San Diego Padres, the New York Mets and New York YankeesCleveland IndiansCincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers. He was a five-time MLB All-Star.

“There are few players in the game who can impact a team and a fan base the way Tony did in Toronto,” Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro said in a statement. “Beyond his impressive career numbers, achievements, and accolades, Tony resonated with baseball fans because of how he played the game and conducted himself as a teammate.”

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez Add Sports Star Power in Bid to Purchase the New York Mets

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez aren’t giving up their Mets quest…

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar and the 44-year-old Dominican American former-baseball-player-turned-sports-commentator aren’t giving up on their bid to purchase the New York Mets from the Wilpon family. 

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez

After the pair reportedly teamed up with billionaire Mike Repole in an ownership group, they’ve now added a group of investors that includes some other big names. 

Per ESPN, Hall of Fame linebacker Brian Urlacher, 2020 Super Bowl champion Travis Kelce, ex-NFL star DeMarco Murray, former Cleveland Browns offensive lineman Joe Thomas,Washington Wizards All-Star Bradley Beal and Denver Nuggets center Mason Plumlee are all joining the celebrity couple’s bid.

“We couldn’t be more excited to have such high-quality individuals as part of our group,” Lopez and Rodriguez told ESPN on Monday.

The Wilpons have been looking to sell the Mets for months now, but a deal hasn’t been reached despite some interest. 

The Wilpons originally had an agreement in place to sell the team to hedge fund investor and billionaire Steve Cohenwhile remaining in control of the club for another five years, but that deal fell apart.

Recently, it was reported that Cohen delivered the family an offer for $2 billion, and was willing to offer an additional $2 billion to also acquire SportsNet New York (SNY). The Wilpons have reportedly been reluctant to give up SNY. However, it now appears the television network would now be included in a potential sale, indicating the Wilpons are more serious about a deal.

The group headed by Lopez and Rodriguez reportedly submitted an initial bid of $1.7 billion. The former New York Yankees slugger and Bronx-born pop star have reportedly put $300 million of their own money toward the bid. 

The Wilpons will review all of the bids, and work with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to determine the next steps in the process. Whoever does end up taking home the Queens-based franchise will need to their purchase to be approved by 75 percent of MLB owners.

The Wilpons reportedly hope to close a deal by the fall and gain Major League Baseball approval for the new owners before the end of the year.

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez Looking to Make Bid for the New York Mets

Jennifer Lopez and Alex Rodriguez have the New York Mets on their minds…

The 50-year-old Puerto Rican superstar and her 44-year-old Dominican American fiancé and former-baseball-star-turned-sports-commentator have retained J.P. Morgan to represent them in raising capital for a possible bid for the Mets team, according to multiple reports.

Jennifer Lopez & Alex Rodriguez

A three-time American League MVP, Rodriguez retired in August 2016 with 698 home runs, a .295 average and 2,086 RBIs in 22 years. He was suspended for the 2014 season for violations of Major League Baseball‘s drug agreement and labor contract.

A-Rod earned about $448 million as a player. The 14-time All-Star started his career with the Seattle Mariners, signed a record contract with the Texas Rangersin December 2000, and then moved from shortstop to third base when he was traded from the Rangers to the New York Yankees ahead of the 2004 season.

Lopez, a multi-hyphenate, has launched a number of companies, as well as invested in others globally.

The Mets’ ownership is headed by Fred Wilpon, brother-in-law Saul Katza nd Fred Wilpon’s son Jeff, the team’s chief operating officer. The team said December 4 it was negotiating an agreement with Steve Cohen. The hedge fund manager bought an 8% limited partnership stake in 2012 for $40 million. The deal under discussion would have seen him acquire an 80% controlling share in a transaction that values the team at $2.6 billion, and the Wilpons would have remained in place for five years.

The sides announced the deal’s collapse on February 6, and the Mets’ owners said they intended to find a new buyer. Allen & Co. represents the Mets’ owners.

Given the drop in equities prices caused by the new coronavirus pandemic, the next few months figure to be a difficult time to raise money for a bid.

Marc Anthony’s Magnus Studios Developing Animated Children’s Series “Gloria (doesn’t) Know It All”

Marc Anthony is getting animated…

The 51-year-old Puerto Rican singer’s Magnus Studios, a division of his entertainment company Magnus Media, will develop and produce an animated children’s series aimed at children ages 4-8. 

Marc-Anthony

Gloria (doesn’t) Know It All will be produced in partnership with filmmaker and Academy Award winner Juan Jose Campanella‘s animation studio Mundoloco CGAand Lanugo Media.

The series, which will draw heavily on music and magic realism, tells the story of a 7-year-old little Alpaca sent to visit her grandparents in a magical town. 

Anthony and Magnus COO Felipe Pimento, who is also head of Magnus Studios, will act as executive producers. Anthony will also be the series’ music executive producer, supervising the creation of all original songs and music for the show.

On their end, Campanella and Mundoloco co-founder Gaston Goraliwill act as executive producer and showrunner, respectively. 

Campanella is best known for his film The Secret In Their Eyes, which won the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 2009.

“I am thrilled to start the new year with the announcement of a project that will highlight the splendor and diversity of our Latino culture for children everywhere and I am looking forward to inspire families and young generations with this story,” said Anthony in a statement. 

Gloria (doesn’t) Know It Allwas co-created by Pimiento and Gorali with Carla Curieland Roberto Castro. Curiel and Castro, who are co-executive producers for Lanugo Media, said the story was inspired by their twin daughters Adriana and Emilia.

Gloriawill be the latest venture for an expanding Magnus Media, which also includes management, publishing and digital and video content divisions in addition to a sports unit and a talent agency. The company’s roster of acts includes Anthony, Gente de ZonaFonseca and Mau y Ricky in addition to over 60 professional baseball players, including New York Yankees pitcher Aroldis Chapman and the Toronto Blue JaysVladimir Guerrero

Starlin Castro Agrees to Two-Year Deal with the Washington Nationals

Starlin Castro is headed to The District

The 29-year-old Dominican professional baseball infielder and free-agent second baseman, a four-time MLB All-Star, has reached a two-year, $12 million deal with the Washington Nationals, according to ESPN.

Starlin Castro

The deal is pending a physical, ESPNsaid. The Athleticwas the first to report the agreement.

Castro had a .270 batting average with 22 home runs and 86 RBIs last season for the Miami Marlins, who declined his $16 million option and instead paid a $1 million buyout on November 1.The 10-year veteran spent the first six seasons of his career with the Chicago Cubs before playing two seasons each with the New York Yankeesand the Marlins. Castro has a .280 career average with 133 home runs and 636 RBIs.

Edwin Encarnacion Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Chicago White Sox

Edwin Encarnacionis headed to The Windy City…

The 36-year-old Dominican professional baseball first baseman and designated hitter and the Chicago White Sox have reached an agreement on a one-year deal for $12 million with a club option for 2021 at $12 million, according to ESPN.

Edwin Encarnacion

Encarnacion batted .244 in 109 games last season with the Seattle Mariners and New York Yankees. The Yankees acquired the three-time All-Star from Seattle in June to bolster a lineup sapped by injuries. With cash from the Mariners in the trade, the deal cost New York just $8 million of the $25 million he was owed in 2020, including a $5 million buyout.

Encarnacion was leading the American Leaguewith 21 homers at the time, but a strained left oblique limited the first baseman/designated hitter down the stretch. He hit .249 with 13 homers, 37 RBIs and an .856 OPS in 44 regular-season games with New York.

He hit .308 while the Yankees pounded the Minnesota Twins in the AL Division Series, but he slumped badly in the AL Championship Series against the Houston Astros.

Encarnacion has averaged 37 homers and 106 RBIs since 2012 and helped slug the Toronto Blue Jaysto back-to-back appearances in the ALCS in 2015 and 2016. His 239 homers in Toronto ranks third behind Carlos Delgado(336) and Jose Bautista(265) on the Blue Jays’ career list.

His three-run drive in the 11th inning to beat the Baltimore Oriolesin the wild-card game in the 2016 playoffs gave Toronto one of its most indelible moments since Joe Carter‘s World Serieswalk-off handed the Blue Jays a second consecutive title in 1993.

Through his 14th season, Encarnacion has a career .263 average with 414 home runs and 1,242 RBIs for Cincinnati Reds, Toronto, Cleveland Indians, Seattle and the Yankees.

Dellin Betances Agrees to One-Year Deal with the New York Mets

Dellin Betances has Metshis match…

The 31-year-old Dominican American professional baseball player and right-handed reliever has reached a one-year deal with the New York Mets, according to ESPN.

Dellin Betances

The deal is worth $10.5 million, but Betances could earn $13 million if he appears in 70 games. There’s a player option in 2021 and a vesting player option for 2022, according to ESPN.

The 6-foot-8 Betances, who has 621 strikeouts in 381 2/3 career innings, is a flamethrower with a fastball that clocks close to 100 mph, but injury problems kept him out almost all of last season. He was diagnosed with an impingement in his pitching shoulder after his fourth spring training appearance on March 17. His rehabilitation stopped when the team said June 11 that he had strained his right latissimus dorsi muscle, and Betances did not start a minor league injury rehabilitation assignment until September.

Betances finally made it back into a big league game before the end of the season, when a partially torn left Achilles tendon suffered when he hopped on the mound after celebrating a strikeout ended his comeback after just eight pitches.

But Betances has been one of the American League‘s most reliable setup men during his run of seven seasons with the New York Yankees. A four-time All-Star, Betances is 21-22 with a 2.36 career ERA in 358 relief appearances over his seven big-league seasons. During one three-year stretch in the Bronx, he chalked up an incredible 392 strikeouts to lead the league three times in that category, with an earned-run average of 1.93.

Betances began his major league career in 2011 with the Yankees; he mostly was used as a starter in his early years, then began moving into a relief role.

Francisco Cervelli Agrees to One-Year Deal with the Miami Marlins

Francisco Cervelli is heading to the Sunshine State…

The 33-year-old half-Venezuelan professional baseball player, a free-agent catcher,has agreed to a one-year, $2 million contract with the Miami Marlins, according to ESPN.

Francisco Cervelli

The move reunites Cervelli with former New York Yankees teammate Derek Jeter, the Marlins’ CEO and part owner, and Miami special adviser Jorge Posada, whom he considers a mentor.

Cervelli will back up Jorge Alfaro at catcher for the Marlins.

Cervelli finished last season with the Atlanta Braves after he was waived by the Pittsburgh Pirates. He had requested his release after he worked his way back from another concussion that had appeared to put his career in jeopardy.

In 37 games with the Braves, he hit .281 with two home runs and seven RBIs. A career .269 hitter, he had hit .193 in 34 games for the Pirates last season before he was sidelined by his concussion. He has suffered several concussions in his big league career.

He played his first seven seasons with the Yankees before joining the Pirates in 2015.

Ronald Acuña Jr. Receives First-Ever Silver Slugger Award

It’s a silverfirst for Ronald Acuña Jr.

The 21-year-old Venezuelan Major League Baseball baseball outfielder for the Atlanta Braves has received his first Silver Slugger Award, awarded annually to the best offensive player at each position in both the American League and the National League, as determined by the coaches and managers. 

Ronald Acuna Jr.

For the year, Acuña hit .280/.365/.883, with 127 runs (leading the National League), 41 home runs, and 37 stolen bases (leading the league). He missed the 40–40 club by three stolen bases.

Acuña’s Braves teammates Freddie Freeman and Ozzie Albies are among the first-time winners on the National League side, along with Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder Cody Bellinger.

First-timers for the American League are Cleveland Indians first baseman Carlos SantanaNew York Yankees infielder DJ LeMahieuHouston Astros infielder Alex Bregman and Minnesota Twins catcher Mitch Garver.

Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout was awarded his seventh Silver Slugger Award after batting .291 with 45 home runs and 104 RBIs this season.

World Series champion and Washington Nationals slugger Anthony Rendon, a two-time winner, Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. RealmutoColorado Rockies shortstop Trevor StoryMilwaukee Brewers star Christian Yelich and former Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke, who was dealt by the D-backs to the Astros at the trade deadline, completed the National League list.

Twins designated hitter Nelson Cruz, a three-time winner, Astros outfielder George Springer and Boston Red Sox teammates Mookie Betts and Xander Bogaerts rounded out the American League winners.

Selections are based on a combination of offensive stats, including batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage in addition to the managers’ and coaches’ views of a player’s overall offensive value.