'The Rock' Buys the XFL: Top Stories, Sports and Business News — August 3

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Here are the stories shaping sports and business on Monday, August 3.

'The Rock' Buys the XFL

Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson partnered with RedBird Capital and bought the XFL for $15 million, according to Sportico.

Johnson and the XFL's original owner and WWE CEO Vince McMahon have had a business relationship since The Rock began his career in the WWE in 1996. Before joining the WWE, Johnson played college football for the University of Miami and played in the Canadian football league in 1995.

The coronavirus forced the XFL to shut down its season midway through its second attempt at an inaugural season. The league was forced to lay off all its employees, terminate all player contracts and file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on April 13.

Johnson said the acquisition is an investment for him that is “rooted deeply in two things — my passion for the game and my desire to always take care of the fans.” Johnson went on to say he “looks forward to creating something special for the players, fans, and everyone involved for the love of football.”

The XFL averaged about 1.9 million viewers on FOX per game.

RedBird announced last week that it had filed an S-1 with the Securities and Exchange Commission to form and take public a Special Purpose Acquisition Company, RedBall Acquisition, public on the NYSE.

The company is eyeing sports media properties and possibly data analytics companies. And it hasn’t ruled out sports franchises.

And remember, DraftKings went public through a SPAC.

So far in 2020, we’ve seen over 50 SPAC offerings, and they’ve raised a whopping $21.5 billion dollars, which—according to Goldman Sachs—is up 145% from the same period a year ago.

Watch more: Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson, RedBird Capital Purchase XFL for $15 Million

Daily Coronavirus Update

There are over 18.1 million cases of the virus worldwide, with over 690,000 deaths. The U.S. has 4.6 million cases with over 154,000 deaths. According to the COVID-19 Tracking Project, there were 48,600 new cases reported Sunday. 725,000 new tests were done. And 515 deaths were reported yesterday. 

Across the world, there are now outbreaks being recorded in Britain, Australia, Japan and many other nations around the Asia region.

Heading into the weekend, lawmakers on Capitol Hill continued to hold talks on a new stimulus package, and while both sides hailed "good progress” from the meetings, Republicans and Democrats are at least $1 trillion apart on their proposed bills. 

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi rejected a proposal from Republicans that would have extended the $600 benefit for another week, noting that the two sides are not on a path towards a broader, more longer-term deal. White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows told CBS' "Face the Nation that he’s "not optimistic that there will be a solution in the very near term.” But that there will “hopefully” be change in the coming days.

Tyson Foods posted earnings that beat expectations from analysts on Monday. But the company noted that COVID-19-related costs will impact output volumes at the world's biggest meat producer until at least 2021. Tyson said it absorbed around $340 million in coronavirus-related costs, including those linked to plant closures, safety measures, testing and product downgrades. And Tyson noted that Noel White, current CEO will be stepping down and Dean Banks will be stepping up as CEO.

White said, “Without a doubt, our third fiscal quarter was one of the most volatile and uncertain periods I’ve seen during my time in the industry...However, our commitment to team member health and safety and investments in operations and portfolio strategy effectively positioned us to weather unprecedented COVID-19 marketplace volatility while allowing us to support our farmers, ranchers and producers and meet our customers’ needs.”

However, data from Food & Environment Reporting Network, a non-profit new organization, shows that Tyson Foods has had 10,261 employees test positive for the coronavirus.

To put the numbers in perspective—according to FERN—JBS has 2,660 cases and Smithfield has 2,024 cases. The total, per FERN, of meatpacking workers who have tested positive for COVID-19, comes in at 38,403. However, FERN notes that the data “is primarily collected from local news reports, with additional information gathered from state health authorities and, on occasion, from companies with outbreaks.”

August 3...Is Not a Holiday

Sports Illustrated's Bill Enright was unsuccessful in his attempt to make August 3 a national holiday, but nonetheless he will still be celebrating.

There are nine Major League Baseball games including the Phillies and Yankees, six games in the NBA including the Lakers and Jazz and four NHL Playoff games. That’s 19 live games sport fans can sit back and watch all day long.

With sports back on our television screens, more fans will be gambling and playing fantasy sports. 

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