The new ownership group for the failed Chivas USA franchise will be announced on Thursday and early reports don’t bode well for the Valley’s effort to have the team located here.
It’s expected that the ownership will include venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Peter Guber, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors, according to various media reports. In addition, Vincent Tan, who owns the English club Cardiff City, is expected to be a part of the group.
The Valley Industry & Commerce Association had led an effort to bring any new MLS team to the Valley but media reports indicate the group – led by Nguyen and Guber – is expected to seek to build a stadium at Exposition Park. The team would start play in 2017.
The league had a number of requirements for the new owner. The buyer must keep the team in the L.A. area and have local management. MLS also is mandating the owners build a soccer-specific stadium for the team, ending its tenancy at the StubHub Center in Carson, where the Los Angeles Galaxy play.
VICA had several stadium sites in mind, including the old Rocketdyne facility on Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard in Warner Center, Cal State Northridge and Valley Plaza in North Hollywood.
The MLS board voted unanimously earlier this month to fold Chivas, after subpar performance on the field and poor attendance plagued the team for years. In February, the league bought the team from Jorge Vergara, who owns the popular Chivas de Guadalajara club in Mexico, for a reported price of $70 million.
Jeff Marks, managing director of Santa Monica sports advisory firm Premier Partnerships, told the Business Journal last month he expects the sale to run between $75 million and $125 million.
“There aren’t a lot of trophy franchises available in a big market like L.A.,” he said. “In a way, you’re buying something even more valuable, since it’s not labeled. I think you’re looking at one of the largest MLS deals in history.”
VICA has declined to comment on reports of the new ownership group and what it could mean for the Valley effort.