The Most Powerful Woman In Professional Football

In the male-dominated world of professional sports ownership, it was once unheard of to imagine a female at the helm of an NFL team. In 1979, when Georgia Frontiere inherited a 70% ownership stake in the Los Angeles Rams following the death of her husband, Carroll Rosenbloom, she was considered a novelty. Other early examples include Virginia Halas McKaskey who inherited the Chicago Bears from her papa, George Halas, and Norma Hunt who took over the Kansas City Chiefs from her husband Lamar Hunt.

However, today, it’s becoming increasingly common for a woman to inherit an NFL franchise from her husband or father and assume the decision-making responsibilities in professional sports teams.  

The Most Powerful Woman In Professional Football


The Women Take Over 

After decades of ownership by William Clay Ford and his wife, Martha Firestone Ford, the Detroit Lions’ franchise is now in the very capable hands of their daughter, Sheila Ford Hemp. It wasn’t until Sheila Hemp assumed control of the Detroit team and hired General Manager Brad Holmes and Coach Dan Campbell, that the once-hapless Lions began their extraordinary turnaround. Now, as they head into the 2024 season, the Lions are considered a Superbowl contender.

As impressive as it is for these women to be in charge of an NFL team, it’s even more astonishing to think a woman could be the visionary genius and owner of an entire football league. But the most powerful woman in professional sports today, Dany Garcia, isn’t just the first woman to own a major U.S. professional sports league, she’s also the guiding force behind a purchase that ultimately led to the XFL / USFL merger and created the United Football League (UFL). Recognizing the potential in a spring football league, Garcia assembled a consortium that included Dwayne Johnson and financial partner, Red Bird Capital, to purchase the XFL for 15 million dollars from WWE entrepreneur, Vince McMahon.

Who Is Dany Garcia?

A first-generation American, Dany Garcia, is of Cuban heritage and learned the value of hard work from her immigrant parents. Passionate about her responsibility as a role model and advocate for women and minorities, Garcia is extremely philanthropic, sharing her time and wisdom, as well as her financial contributions.  

Equally as formidable on Wall Street as she is in Hollywood, Dany Garcia is a mogul, an extremely successful Hollywood producer and talent manager, a CEO, a corporate magnate, and in addition, she’s also a competitive bodybuilder who earned her IFBF in 2014.  Garcia is known for her “Midas Touch” reputation and it would appear that everything she touches turns to gold. She frequently appears on Variety’s lists of Hollywood’s most powerful women and is recognized in corporate business journals. She is truly a woman who does it all.   

While her name may not be as well known as that of her two most famous management clients, Dwayne (The Rock) Johnson and British actor, Henry Cavill, best known for his role as “Superman”, Garcia is nonetheless, responsible for their A-list success. Garcia’s relationship with Johnson goes back decades when they met as college students at The University of Miami School of Business where Garcia obtained a degree in International Marketing and Finance. Following her graduation, Garcia worked as a Merrill Lynch Associate Vice President. Eventually, she and Johnson married and amicably divorced ten years later.  

But her primary role in his life is not as The Rock’s ex-wife but rather as his business manager, global brand strategist, and business partner.  Together, she and Johnson have established an entertainment empire through their “Seven Bucks Production” studios releasing blockbuster movie franchises (The Fast and Furious,  Jumanji ) along with numerous reality television series, and scripted comedies like Ballers.  It is worth noting that Jumanji is Sony Pictures’ highest-grossing movie ever.  

When she’s not working as a media mogul, overseeing the production of successful movies, digital content, and television series, Garcia stays busy as the founder, CEO, and Chairman of The Garcia Companies and TGC Management.   

As the UFL prepares for its kick-off weekend, both Garcia and Johnson have high hopes for the league catching on with the viewing audience. With the NFL coming off its highest-rated season in years if the hunger for football remains and fans transfer that passion to the UFL, then Garcia’s gamble will have paid off.  Her brilliant marketing, branding, and financial acumen will have once added another successful venture that cements her extraordinary legacy as the most powerful woman in professional sports.  

Main Image: Candice Ward-USA TODAY Sports


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