As you’re probably aware by now, the XFL has new owners. August 3rd the news was revealed via social media that the XFL had been purchased by a new business venture featuring Dany Garcia, Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson and Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital Partners.
When the announcement was hot off the presses there was a lot of focus on Dwayne Johnson’s role in the purchase. It makes sense, a lot of people know ‘The Rock’ from his time in professional wrestling as well as the big screen starring in some of Hollywood’s hottest films.
We wanted to take some time to do a deep-dive into the new ownership team to help you better understand the folks that are now at the helm of the XFL.
With the purchase of the XFL, Garcia becomes the first woman to own an entire sports league. She is an American businessperson, producer and is the founder, CEO and chairwoman of The Garcia Companies and TGC Management. In this role she oversees a portfolio of brands in business, entertainment, and food, including TGC Management, Seven Bucks Companies, Teremana Tequila, Athleticon, and the Project Rock Collection at Under Armour, VOSS, Atom Tickets and Salt & Straw.
She started her career in finance at Merrill Lynch in 1992, before taking on the role of managing Dwayne Johnson’s career in 2008. Garcia co-founded the production company Seven Bucks Productions in 2012, which has since produced several films starring Johnson. Some of the films in the production’s catalog include the box office success Baywatch (2017), Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), the superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name, Shazam! (2019), The Fast and the Furious spin-off Hobbs & Shaw (2019), and Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).
Garcia met Johnson while attending college and they were married on May 3, 1997. They have one child together, a daughter named Simone, who was born in August 2001. On June 1, 2007, they announced they were splitting up amicably. In 2014, Garcia married bodybuilder and TGC Management’s fitness industry brand consultant, Dave Rienzi. Garcia is also a bodybuilder and often credits the sport for shaping her relentless nature in business. She first competed in 2011 and went on to earn her IFBB Pro card in 2014. She was the first-ever Women’s Physique Division athlete to be signed to the Weider roster.
Garcia holds several board positions. In 2008, she founded the Beacon Experience, a foundation that works with at-risk children to empower them to break economic and social barriers and extend their education beyond high school. She was elected to be on Pediatrix Medical Group, Inc’s Board of Directors that same year.
Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson
Dwayne Douglas Johnson, also known by his ring name The Rock, is an actor, producer, businessman, retired professional wrestler and former American football player. He wrestled for the World Wrestling Federation (WWF, now WWE) for eight years prior to pursuing an acting career. His films have grossed over $3.5 billion in North America and over $10.5 billion worldwide, making him one of the highest-grossing actors of all time.
Johnson was a college football player for the University of Miami, with whom he won a national championship in 1991. He initially aspired for a professional career in football and entered the 1995 NFL Draft, but went undrafted. As a result, he signed with the Calgary Stampeders of the Canadian Football League (CFL), but was cut from the team in the middle of his first season. Shortly after, he began training as a professional wrestler.
In 1996 Johnson secured a contract with the WWF and was promoted as the first third-generation wrestler in the company’s history, as he is the son of Rocky Johnson and grandson of Peter Maivia. He rose to prominence after developing a charismatic persona of a boastful, trash-talking wrestler named The Rock. He subsequently won his first WWF Championship in 1998 and helped usher the WWF into the “Attitude Era”, a boom period in the company’s business in the late 1990s and early 2000s which still holds professional wrestling records for television ratings. In 2004 he left the WWE to pursue an acting career.
Considered one of the greatest professional wrestlers and biggest wrestling draws of all time, Johnson headlined the most-bought professional wrestling pay-per-view event ever (WrestleMania XXVIII) and was featured among the most watched episodes of WWE’s two flagship television shows (Raw and SmackDown). He has won several championships, being a two-time Intercontinental Champion, a five-time tag team champion, and a 10-time world champion. He was also a Royal Rumble match winner and WWE’s sixth Triple Crown champion.
Johnson had his first leading film role in The Scorpion King (2002) and has since starred in a number of commercially successful films, including The Game Plan (2007), Tooth Fairy (2010), Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (2012), G.I. Joe: Retaliation (2013), Hercules (2014), San Andreas (2015), Central Intelligence (2016), Moana (2016), Rampage (2018), and Skyscraper (2018). His most successful box office role has been as Luke Hobbs in The Fast Saga films. He first appeared in Fast Five (2011) and helped catapult the series into one of the highest-grossing film franchises ever. He starred in the sequels Fast & Furious 6 (2013), Furious 7 (2015), and The Fate of the Furious (2017), as well as the spin-off film Hobbs & Shaw (2019). He also stars in the Jumanji franchise, appearing in Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017), and its sequel Jumanji: The Next Level (2019).
Johnson produced and starred in the HBO series Ballers (2015–2019), which ran for five seasons and was ranked as HBO’s most-watched comedy in six years. He has also attained success as a television host and autobiography author. In 2000, he released the autobiography The Rock Says… which debuted atop The New York Times Best Seller list. In 2012, he founded the production company Seven Bucks Productions, which has since produced several films and other entertainment projects. Consistently ranked among the world’s highest-paid actors, Johnson made the Time 100 Most Influential People in the World list in 2016 and 2019.
Gerry Cardinale (RedBird Capital)
Prior to founding RedBird, Gerry spent 20 years at Goldman Sachs where he was a Partner of the firm and a senior leader of the Merchant Bank’s private equity investing business, which managed over $100 billion of private capital investments across equity, debt, real estate and infrastructure investment strategies.
During his tenure, Gerry worked with entrepreneurs and family business owners to build several successful multi-billion-dollar platform companies, including the Yankees Entertainment & Sports (“YES”) Network, the #1 Regional Sports Network in the United States; Legends Hospitality, a premium ticketing, concessions and merchandising services company which was created in partnership with the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees; and Suddenlink Communications, which was the 7th largest American cable company at the time it was acquired by Altice USA.
RedBird Capital Partners is a private investment firm focused on building high-growth companies with flexible, long-term capital in partnership with its Entrepreneur & Family Office Network. Founded by former Goldman Sachs Partner Gerry Cardinale, RedBird today manages $4 billion of capital principally across its core industry verticals in Sports, TMT, Financial Services and Consumer. RedBird invests with an entrepreneurial, company-building mentality, with an emphasis on capital appreciation and compounding equity returns over longer holding periods. RedBird’s network of business founders and entrepreneurs is central to its investment sourcing strategy, and its highly curated group of investors are active co-investors who provide scaleable capital support.
Now you know… and knowing is half the battle.
Whichever way you look at it, there’s no denying that the XFL is in good hands. If the new leadership team can keep the momentum of the 2020 relaunch then we could be seeing the continuation of this great new brand of football that we all loved in the early half of this year.
What are your thoughts on the new owners? Do you plan on supporting the XFL when it returns? Let us know down in the comments below of join the conversation on Discord.