Major League Soccer announced on Thursday the new ownership group for the failed Chivas USA franchise, which it rebranded as the Los Angeles Football Club.
And so far it doesn’t appear that there are any Valley ties, or the group is particularly interested in basing the club here as local boosters have sought.
Team owners will include venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Hollywood producer Peter Guber, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors. In addition, Vincent Tan, who owns the English club Cardiff City, is expected to be a part of the group. Also a part of the ownership team is Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, Tony Robbins and others.
The ownership group has yet to announce where the new stadium will be constructed, but various reports have indicated Exposition Park near USC as the prime spot. But on the new club’s website, there is a section asking for people to sign up as supporters and use the hashtag #LAFC2017 to voice their opinion for a new home. The team already had roughly 3,000 Twitter followers by about noon.
The site includes a graphic that appears to indicate various possibilities, including downtown, the Westside and even locations in Orange County.
However, Stuart Waldman, chief executive of the Valley Industry & Commerce Association, which has led the effort to land the new club, said the effort is just getting off the ground and the Valley still should have a good chance.
“I think they’ll do a thorough search, and I believe the San Fernando Valley is the right place,” said Waldman, who added the Sherman Oaks group is actively reaching out to the new ownership group for a meeting.
The new club will begin play in 2017 after construction of a new soccer-specific stadium. Given that timeline, a choice on a location for the venue would certainly have to be made within the next year.
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.
Nguyen, managing general partner of IDG Ventures in Vietnam, will also be managing partner of the new MLS Club.
Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Major League Soccer on the deal, which experts said likely exceeded $100 million.