This story is part three of Boardroom’s Women’s History Month series highlighting bold figures forging distinctive paths in the worlds of sports, business, culture, and entertainment.
Part I: Morgan DeBaun | Part II: Valentina Shevchenko
From producing Hollywood blockbusters to making history as co-owner and Chairwoman of the XFL, this sports and entertainment exec packs the power.
The word “mogul” is a term thrown around frequently — and sometimes lazily — when it comes to recognizing prominent figures. But a woman who undoubtedly fits within the definition is Dany Garcia. She currently serves as chairwoman of the XFL while investing in or partnering with an ever-expanding number of companies to create a booming portfolio for both herself and her longtime business partner and former spouse, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson.
Garcia’s acquisition of the XFL alongside Johnson and Gerry Cardinale’s RedBird Capital three years ago wasn’t just an investment opportunity, however — it made her the first woman to own a co-equal or majority ownership stake in a professional sports league in the US. Now, the league is officially up and running with four nationally-televised games running across ESPN platforms each week.
But even before then, Garcia, raised in New Jersey as the daughter of Cuban immigrants, was making her way first and foremost as an athlete. Long before the call to XFL ascendance came, she was a professional bodybuilder who went on to earn her International Fitness and Bodybuilding Federation Pro card. Her experience in the sport is what she says helped build her determination as an entrepreneur.
Garcia’s most prominent business is Seven Bucks Productions, a production company she co-founded 2012 with Dwayne Johnson, so named for the paltry sum the future WWE superstar had in his pocket after being cut from the Canadian Football League. To date, the company has grossed a total of $4.6 billion at the box office worldwide from big-time films like Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Shazam!, Fast & Furious Presents: Hobbs and Shaw, Jungle Cruise, and last year’s Black Adam. On TV, the company has produced Ballers, The Titan Games, and Young Rock.
The Seven Bucks Companies umbrella includes a digital studio and a marketing arm as well.
“At Seven Bucks, we like to say we do not create stories or develop stories alone. We’re not just in a room saying, ‘What do we want to do? What story do we want to tell today?’ We see the audience as collaborators,” she said in 2019. “They’re constantly in our minds: What is the experience? What can we share? What can we bring them? What will delight them? What will be exciting to them? Start with that mindset, symptomatically look at projects that actually have large scopes… that’s how we aim to attract global appeal.”
Garcia additionally sits on the advisory board of Atom Tickets, a relationship that began in 2018 when she and Johnson invested in the company. They are also notable investors in Acorns, a tech-driven financial services platform.
Apart from the entertainment world, Garcia founded GSTQ, a women’s lifestyle clothing brand that creates everything from dresses, jumpsuits, blazers, pants, skirts, shorts and more in all sizes. To no surprise, GTSQ partnered with the XFL for an apparel collaboration with the league’s logo on various items.
It’s through her work as Chairwoman of the XFL that Garcia has reached a new level over the past three years — and her colleagues will be the first to declare it.
“She’s been involved in the daily business operations and football operations since day one. She is an incredible leader and a powerhouse in life,” league President Russ Brandon said. “She’s a former professional athlete who transitioned to running a multitude of businesses that are extraordinarily successful. I have an opportunity to work with her on a daily basis and she has been a great leader as we have built this.”
Right on cue, Garcia and the XFL have gone on to strike up a number of key partnerships with the organizations like the NFL, ESPN, Under Armour, Genius Sports, Westgate Resorts, Progressive Insurance, Under the Lights Flag Football, the Indoor Football League, Ticketmaster, and BreakAway Data. As the league establishes itself as the premier football competition of the NFL offseason, expect that list to grow.
The XFL kicked off in February with eight teams and a desire to make a sincere kind of splash. In order to stamp her impact on the new football league literally and figuratively, the XFL’s executive team came to Garcia with an idea to put her signature on the official league ball.
“I was both honored and humbled,” said Garcia in a release announcing the news. “As a lifelong football fan, I recognize the acknowledgment and trust that accompanies an ask like this. It inspires within me an even deeper personal commitment to our players, our coaches, our fans, our staff, and to our league. This moment will live in my mind forever.”
As Johnson added, “To see our Chairwoman’s signature on our new XFL ball is a very cool and historic moment in sports and professional football. It’s a testament to Dany and her continued drive and passion to take this league to the next level, which, in turn, paves the way for more women within the professional football industry.”
And so whether it be in the XFL’s front office or behind the scenes of a multi-million dollar production film, Dany Garcia continues to pave roads for more women that will one day come behind her.
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