Arash Madani wonders if RedBird Capital is ‘going to write a cheque’ for the CFL to play in 2021

Photo courtesy: Arash Madani

Veteran Sportsnet reporter Arash Madani has a knack for putting things together.

Through conversations with connected individuals regarding the CFL discussions with XFL and RedBird Capital officials, Madani can sense the potential for financial backing to help the three-down league play football in 2021.

“This is where I’m starting to wonder — how long have we been talking about the XFL now? It feels like a couple of months. The RedBird Capital thing is where I’m wondering if this partnership, part of it, some of it, a lot of it, much of it, a little bit of it, has to do with RedBird Capital and if they’re going to write a cheque,” Madani said on 620 CKRM’s The SportsCage.

RedBird Capital manages over $4 billion in assets with ownership stakes in Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox — it’s a powerful, impressive company. The CFL has been ravaged by financial struggles from COVID, losing between $60 and $80 million last year, and RedBird’s cash could help solve problems.

“The more I talk to people about this, this is not sourced information that somebody said that’s where it’s coming from, I’m just starting to connect some dots. I’m trying to get A to B and C, and I’m starting to wonder is that where some of the money could exist? That’s what I’m wondering,” Madani said.

RedBird Capital joined forces with Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia to purchase the assets of Alpha Entertainment LLC, the parent company of the XFL from Vince McMahon last August. The owners of the XFL and CFL are currently in discussions regarding the possibility for collaboration.

The Rock has stated he’s excited for the ‘unique opportunity’ the CFL and XFL ‘can potentially create together.’ The most recent incarnation of the XFL lasted just five games before the COVID-19 pandemic put their season on hold, which led to McMahon filing for bankruptcy and selling.

RedBird Capital, Johnson, and Garcia were selected as the winning bidders. It cost $15 million and the goal is to make the XFL a stable league in the future, which could include an agreement with the CFL.

“That’s why very soon there’s going to be some clarity on the delay to the season,” Madani said, “and how this all may move forward and where RedBird figures into this conversation is part of it.”