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.
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.
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.
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 Yankeesslugger 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.
Tony Romois ready to swing his club for a good cause…
The 40-year-old Mexican American former Dallas-Cowboys-quarterback-turned-NFL-commentator is set to take part in a 54-hole fundraising tournament involving a handful of Dallas-area pros and top amateurs.
The golf tournament will take place this week, with entry fees earmarked for the caddies at Maridoe Golf Clubin Carrollton, Texas.
Golf Channelfirst reported the event, and Alison Morrison, managing member at Maridoe Golf Club, confirmed the details of the tournament to ESPN, with 18 holes to play Tuesday through Thursday, mostly by members of the club.
The event, called the Maridoe Samaritan Fund Invitational, was conceived only a little more than a week ago, Morrison said, and quickly turned into a sellout that required the club to turn away potential players.
“We’re a caddie-only club, and our caddies have not been working because of COVID-19,” Morrison said. “We thought, why don’t we have a little bit of a match, so to speak, sharpen our blades, put on a 54-hole, social distancing event. Leave the pins. No rakes in bunkers. Let’s play for them, basically. And within a day, I had 24 members who said yes.”
The event will feature 72 players, who each pay $250 to enter, with those fees going to the club’s caddies. A separate pool is being raised as a purse for the pros who compete in the event, with Morrison expecting portions of any winnings to also go to the caddies.
The club has remained open during the coronaviruspandemic, but there will be strict rules in place, including the various social distancing guidelines that are in effect around the country. The driving range has been converted to a short, par-3 course where players can warm-up — but they will not be permitted to arrive more than 30 minutes before their tee time.
The players will compete in threesomes but are required to carry their own bag or use a pull cart. No caddies will work the event, except as walking scorers in each group. Players will not turn in scorecards.
Three-time major champion Jordan Spiethis a member at Maridoe but won’t be able to compete, Morrison said, though she expects him to attend.
Among the pros who are in the field are Viktor Hovland, Scottie Schefflerand Harry Higgs. Former NBAguard Deron Williamsis also listed among the entries, as is Romo.
The event will be separated into three flights by handicap, including an elite flight in which the various pros in the field will compete for a small purse.
“We believe confidently that we can do this and have a great event and show that this is a fantastic sport to enjoy in these times,” Morrison said. “We hope others embrace it, as well. This is bigger than shooting a good score.”
Texas is scheduled to be the location for the first official PGA Tourevent in June when a revised schedule has the Charles Schwab Challengeat Colonial in Forth Worth, June 11-14. The tournament is to be played without spectators.
“Maridoe embraces the social-distancing responsibilities and is particularly suited to meet all the necessary criteria to have a safe and healthy tournament,” the club’s owner, Albert Huddleston, said in a statement. “This was a beautiful opportunity to contribute to the Maridoe Samaritan Fund and help those caddies who have been affected.”
The 39-year-old Mexican American former Dallas Cowboys quarterback has signed a long-term deal to remain with CBS Sports for the 2020 NFL season and beyond in a reported $17 million per year deal.
CBS’ deal with the NFL expires after the 2022 season, but Romo’s contract goes beyond that. CBS is expected to retain their rights when the next round of negotiations start, which could happen this year once a new collective bargaining agreement with players is finalized.
Romo joined CBS Sports in April 2017 as the lead game analyst for The NFL on CBS, and also called Thursday Night Footballgames during that season.
Romo and boothmates Jim Nantzand Tracy Wolfson have been the lead NFL announcing team for the past three seasons, and called the February 2019 Super Bowl. CBS will also broadcast Super Bowl LVin Tampa, Florida, in February 2021.
The move to the booth has been an instant hit for Romo, who quickly became known for uncanny predictions on upcoming plays and insightful analysis.
ESPNwas expected to make an aggressive bid for him to move to the Monday Night Footballbooth but never got the chance.
Romo spent 14 years as the quarterback for the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys, working his way up from an undrafted free agent to the starter as of 2006. He led the Cowboys to six playoff appearances and became a four-time Pro Bowler before retiring following the 2016 season.
He currently holds several Cowboys team records, including passing touchdowns, passing yards, most games with at least 300 passing yards and games with three-plus touchdown passes. Romo threw for 34,183 yards and 248 touchdowns in his NFL career.
The 40-year-old part-Spanish actress has been cast as the lead on Netflix’s eight-episode dramedy series Sex/Life.
Written by Stacy Rukeyserand inspired by BB Easton’s self-published memoir 44 Chapters About 4 Men, Sex/Life is the story of a love triangle between a woman, Billie Connelly (Shahi), her husband, and her past, which takes a deliciously steamy new look at female identity and desire.
Shahi’s Billie Connelly is a woman with everything to lose, a suburban mother of two who goes in search of that sexy, single girl in the city she used to be ten years ago. She takes a fantasy-charged trip down memory lane that sets her very married present on a collision course with her wild-child past.
UnReal alumna Rukeyser serves as showrunner on Sex/Life and executive produces with Oscar-winning producer J. Miles Daleand Larry Robins.
Shahi, a former NFLcheerleader, starred on Showtime’s drama series City on a Hilland on ABC’s The Rookie. Her other credits include Fairly Legal,The L Word, Reverie and Life.
At Netflix, Shahi recently starred in the Dolly Partonanthology seriesHeartstrings.She’ll next be seen in the indie film Language Arts, set to premiere at the Manchester International Film Festival.
Los Tigres Del Norte are ready for a Super performance…
The legendary Mexican norteño band is joining the Latin celebration at Super Bowl LIVon February 2.
Los Tigres Del Norte will appear during the opening of the Spanish broadcast in a special video presentation (filmed in San Jose, California) that will celebrate the legacy of Los Tigres and the 100 seasons of the NFL.
Los Tigres are the latest Latin act added to the Super Bowl festivities…
On January 31, Los Tigres del Norte are releasing their new project Y Su Palabra es la Ley, an homage to Vicente Fernandez. With the tribute Los Tigres want to pay their admiration and respect to the legendary Mexican singer by bringing their distinctive norteño style to new arrangements of many of Fernandez songs, but without losing the traditional mariachi sound.
This year, Los Tigres del Norte is confirmed for an exclusive panel conversation at the 2020 Latinfest+ by Billboardand Telemundo, taking place from April 20 to 23 in Las Vegas.
It’s official… Ron Riverais headed to The District.
The Washington Redskins have officially hired the 57-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American NFL coach as its head coach, the team officially announced on Wednesday.
Rivera had been dismissed in early December by the Carolina Panthers after eight and a half seasons. During his tenure with the Panthers, he took the team to four playoff appearances and finished as the franchise’s most successful head coach, with a 76-63-1 record.
He arrived in town when quarterback Cam Newtonwas a rookie, and their fortunes rose and fell together. Their peak came in the 2015 season, when the Panthers were 15-1 and made their second Super Bowlappearance, losing to the Denver Broncos, 24-10, in Peyton Manning’s final game.
Rivera was named coach of the year by The Associated Pressin 2013 and 2015.
Despite those highs, the team has had a losing record in three of the last four years. This season, Newton played in only two games before leaving the lineup with a foot injury. There had been hopes that he would return, but he never did, a touchy topic that hung over the team.
The Panthers ran off four straight wins behind the backup Kyle Allen. The magic didn’t last. Rivera was fired after a loss to Washington, with the team’s record at 5-7. They lost their last eight games, limping to a 5-11 record to finish in last place in the N.F.C. South.
Rivera was one of four non-white head coaches in the NFLat the start of this season.
“After several meetings with Coach Rivera, it was clear he is the right person to bring winning football back to Washington D.C.,” said Dan Snyder, the team owner, in a statement. “He is widely respected around the league as a man of great integrity and has proven to be one of the finest coaches in the country.”
Rivera inherits a Redskins team that slumped to a 3-13 record this season after four years of finishing within a game of .500. Coach Jay Gruden was firedafter an 0-5 start, but things didn’t improve much under the interim coach, Bill Callahan.
The team turned to rookie quarterback Dwayne Haskins as the starter halfway through the season, but if anything, he performed worse than his predecessor, Case Keenum, before injuring an ankle in Week 16.
The Washington Redskins are expected to hire the 57-year-old Puerto Rican and Mexican American former Carolina Panthers coach as their next head coach, barring unforeseen developments, according to ESPN.
The news comes on the same day that Washington parted ways with team president Bruce Allen.
The Redskins hope the moves can revive a franchise that hasn’t won a playoff game in 14 seasons and faces plummeting attendance.
Rivera would become the seventh head coach hired by owner Dan Snyder. Because Rivera is a minority candidate, the Redskins could fulfill the Rooney Ruleimmediately.
Carolina fired Rivera on December 3with a 5-7 record, and he was viewed as a strong candidate for any opening.
The Redskins fired Jay Gruden after an 0-5 startin his sixth season. Some players bemoaned a lack of discipline, something interim coach Bill Callahan said he wanted to correct.
Allen was the primary voice in Washington’s football matters since the firing of coach Mike Shanahan in 2013. The Redskins hired Scot McCloughan as general manager after the 2014 season, but he was fired after the 2016 season, and Allen regained control. Snyder had hired Allen to be his top executive late in the 2009 season.
The team released a statement from Snyder on Monday morning regarding Allen’s ouster:
“As this season concludes, Bruce Allen has been relieved of his duties as President of the Washington Redskins and is no longer with the organization. Like our passionate fan base, I recognize we have not lived up to the high standards set by great Redskins teams, coaches and players who have come before us. As we reevaluate our team leadership, culture and process of winning football games, I am excited for the opportunities that lie ahead to renew our singular focus and purpose of bringing championship football back to Washington D.C.”
Now the team turns to Rivera. He’ll try to revive a franchise that hasn’t made the playoffs since 2015 and hasn’t won a postseason game since 2005. Attendance at Washington home games has plummeted, and opposing fans often outnumber Redskins fans. Washington ranked 19th in the NFL in attendance and 30th in percentage of seats used this season.
Rivera quickly turned around the Panthers, who went 2-14 in 2010, the season before he took over. Three seasons later, they went 12-4. In 2015, they were 15-1 and reached the Super Bowl. Rivera compiled a 76-63-1 record with Carolina, although the Panthers had only three winning seasons in his eight full years. They reached the playoffs four times, including in 2014 with a 7-8-1 record, and won the NFC South three seasons in a row.
“He gets the best out of players,” said cornerback Josh Norman, who played for Rivera in Carolina. “And not just players, but men. He builds men and guys and also builds character.”
Norman said the Redskins’ culture would be entirely different with Rivera as head coach. It has been an issue with Allen in charge, and even quarterback Case Keenum on Monday said of the organization, “I think there are some cultural things that need to be addressed.”
Washington, meanwhile, has had quite a fall from grace for a franchise that played in five Super Bowls — and won three — between 1972 and 1991.
The franchise has been beset by conflicts; one former member of the Redskins’ football department said the team would win again when the “non-football people stop making football decisions.” Players have often complained about the overall culture at Redskins Parkoutside of the locker room. Among other things, they point to a facility that lags behind most in the NFL despite having been updated in recent years.
This season, a key storyline involved the holdout by seven-time Pro Bowl tackle Trent Williams. Allen didn’t trade him by the October 29 deadline, prompting Williams to report to the team — but also to rip the franchiseover a loss of trust stemming from medical issues. Williams later said he would not have said anything had the Redskins traded him; he had strong support from teammates.
It adds up to why the Redskins needed change. Sources said the Redskins knew they needed a strong leader, someone with previous head-coaching experience — and who has had success.
Rivera had a reputation in Carolina for being firm with players but also for getting to know them beyond the field.
Rivera also was Chicago’s defensive coordinator in 2006 when the Bears reached the Super Bowl. He served in the same role from 2008 to 2010 with the San Diego Chargers. Carolina hired him as its head coach in January 2011. With the Panthers, Rivera earned a reputation in his first two seasons for being conservative. But in 2013, he changed tactics and became known as “Riverboat Ron” for what others called gambling on specific playcalls; he referred to the decisions as “calculated risks.”
In Washington, he’ll inherit a team with plenty of young players, including quarterback Dwayne Haskins. By season’s end, partly because of injuries, the Redskins had used 12 players age 25 or younger as consistent starters. Washington also owns the No. 2 pick in the 2020 NFL draft.
Allen had a legacy with the franchise. His father, George, coached the Redskins from 1971 to 1977, guiding the team to its first Super Bowl, where it lost to Miami. He had turned around a franchise that had floundered throughout the 1950s and ’60s.
But his son could not duplicate that success from an executive position. Bruce Allen became a divisive figure for the fans. During his 10-year tenure, the Redskins won the NFC East twice but finished with double-digit losses five times and never won more than 10 games. They made just two playoff appearances, losing in the first round each time. The Redskins were 62-97-1 under Allen. After a four-year stretch in which they were a combined 31-32-1 with two injury-filled seasons, they plummeted to new lows in 2019. The Redskins’ 3-13 record this season included eight losses by 10 or more points.
Allen was named the 2002 Sporting News Executive of the Year while with the Oakland Raiders. He joined the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2004 as a general manager but was fired after the 2008 season.