On Monday, social media was excited about the news of Dwayne Johnson being back in the sports world when he teamed up with ex-wife and business partner Dany Garcia and private equity firm RedBird Capital to buy the XFL for $15 million.
The deal was announced Monday and The Rock shared in a statement that his decision to pursue the purchase was “rooted deeply in two things” – his “passion for the game” and his “desire to always take care of the fans.”
“This is one of the icon moments for me, I would call it,” Garcia, 51, tells PEOPLE of becoming part-owner of the organization. “It’s an icon moment.”
After the league was forced to shut its doors, Garcia approached 48-year-old Johnson with the idea of acquiring it.
“He’s like, ‘I’m so in, we’re in,’ ” Garcia recalls. “We started moving like mad. We were moving quickly and getting bankers and attorneys and everyone involved. Looking into the books, having extensive conversations with management. It was a bankruptcy proceeding, so we couldn’t chat with Vince about any of this.”
“But the potential is so amazing,” she says.
The XFL purchase puts Garcia in a unique position where she will be one of the few female sports team owners in the country.
“I am usually one of the few, if not the only woman in the room,” says Garcia, the chairwoman of The Garcia Companies. “It’s not a unique position for me.”
“The fact that I am the first woman owner of an entire league, that’s an amazing thing. Especially because the making of it was following my dreams,” she says. “That’s what makes it so beautiful. I was just passionate about following my dreams and had an incredible team and support around me. And it’s wonderful when what you’re doing actually can matter to so many people. And for that, I’m grateful.”
Garcia and Johnson, who were once married and share an 18-year-old daughter.
“We’ve known each other very, very long time, and it’s great — it’s actually fantastic,” Garcia says of working with Johnson. “We have very unique roles. We have skills that complement each other. He likes to say I build the spaceship and he flies it, but I think he’s being very conservative and polite that way.”
“But it’s fun, it’s passionate. Our families are so, so very close, and to have a business partner who respects everything I do, and knows the importance of who I am as a female leader, and as a Latina, I think is really, really wonderful,” she continues. “It’s been fantastic, and I think people recognize that because we do so many big things. We’ve been so blessed.”
XFL’s previous owner, WWE chairman and CEO Vince McMahon’s Alpha Entertainment, filed for bankruptcy in April shortly after launching the new season, but had to close the doors for good after the global coronavirus pandemic shutdown the country.
Thanks to Dany Garcia and Dwayne Johnson, it might actually be third time’s the charm for the XFL.