Jonathan Massaquoi, A.J. Tarpley, and Jameer Thurman of the DC Defenders talk during a 2020 XFL game
DC Defenders Jonathan Massaquoi, A.J. Tarpley, and Jameer Thurman of the XFL | Shawn Hubbard/XFL via Getty Images

WWE CEO Vince McMahon founded a pro football league that he hoped would have faster and simpler play than the NFL. After an initial 2001 season that experienced a mixed bag of success and viewership, the league folded, costing McMahon and his partner, NBC executive Dick Ebersol, $35 million.

McMahon attempted to reboot the XFL in 2018, hiring a commissioner Oliver Luck, and announcing its eight host cities. Its first game took place on February 8, 2020. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic forced the XFL to shut down after its fifth week. A month later, the league filed for bankruptcy, setting into motion negotiations that culminated in actor and former WWE star Dwayne Johnson, along with his partners, buying the team for $15 million. Co-investor Dany Garcia announced that the next XFL season would begin on February 18, 2023.

  • Founded: 2001
  • Founder: Vince McMahon (rebooted in 2018)
  • Owners: Alpha Acquico, LLC (RedBird Capital), Dany Garcia, Dwayne Johnson
  • Headquarters: New York City
  • Teams: eight total
  • Team names: Dallas Renegades, DC Defenders, Houston Roughnecks, LA Wildcats, New York Guardians, Seattle Dragons, St. Louis BattleHawks, Tampa Bay Vipers

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