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FSG pull off major Disney deal

The third biggest shareholder in Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group have landed a multi-year TV deal for the relaunched XFL.

RedBird Capital Partners, the New York-based private equity firm that took an 11 per cent stake in FSG in March 2021 for a $750m sum, have been the financial backers behind the plans to get the XFL off the ground for the third time in the USA, with RedBird in partnership with Hollywood actor Dwayne Johnson and his ex-wife and business partner Dany Garcia on the project, which is set to take to the field in 2023.

The XFL that RedBird, Johnson and Garcia envision is one that does not compete with the global behemoth that is the NFL, but an American football competition that works alongside it, filling the void and the desire for ‘gridiron’ after the NFL season ends in February. It won’t simply be a repackaged NFL, it will seek to implement new media opportunities and put entertainment at the forefront for the fan, as well as attempting to provide unique insight from a player perspective.

In February, the XFL reached a partnership agreement with the NFL that will focus on creating innovation programs and protecting the health of players.

The competition is set to begin in February 2023, with the cities set to play host to the eight teams to be announced in the near future. But in order for the competition, and RedBird’s investment, to be a success it required a media platform through which to reach fans, something that has now been achieved after a deal was inked with The Walt Disney Company, with games to be shown on ESPN and other Disney-owned platforms in what is a major boost for the fledgling league as it attempts to succeed where the other two iterations failed.

Read the full story from Dave Powell, our business of football writer, HERE.





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