A new era for Major League Soccer in Los Angeles began today as MLS Commissioner Don Garber announced that a new team has been awarded to an ownership group led by entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, sports and entertainment leader Peter Guber, and sports veteran Tom Penn. The new club is scheduled to debut in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area built specifically for the team.
"We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "This visionary ownership group will chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world."
The Managing General Partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam, Nguyen is the managing partner of the new MLS club. A native of Vietnam who moved to the United States as a toddler, Nguyen graduated from Harvard University and earned his MD and MBA from Northwestern University Medical School and the Kellogg School of Management.
"We believe this team can become one of the most outstanding clubs in Major League Soccer and a globally-recognized brand," said Nguyen.
One of the most respected entrepreneurs in the sports and entertainment industry, Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and co-executive chairman of the NBA's Golden State Warriors and co-owner of Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodgers. Guber will serve as executive chairman of the new MLS club.
"The business of sports and entertainment is all about winning on the field and providing an exciting product that will develop a passionate and loyal fan base," said Guber. "The Los Angeles market has millions of soccer supporters, and we know that this new team can fulfill the promise of success on the field and provide a great experience for our fans."
Along with Nguyen, Guber and Penn, the new team's ownership group includes: Ruben Gnanalingam, co-owner of the English Premier League's Queens Park Rangers, Vincent Tan, owner of the Football League Championship's Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Earvin "Magic" Johnson, former Los Angeles Lakers star, Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Mia Hamm Garciaparra, U.S. women's soccer great, Tony Robbins, America's #1 life and business strategist, best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Nomar Garciaparra, former Major League Baseball star and SportsNet LA baseball analyst, Larry Berg, senior partner at Apollo Global Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, Allen Shapiro, CEO of Dick Clark Productions and managing partner of Mosaic Media Investment Partners, Chad Hurley, co-founder and former CEO of YouTube and the founder and CEO of MixBit, Rick Welts, President and COO of the Golden State Warriors Basketball Club, Bennett Rosenthal, co-founder and senior partner of Ares Management and a co-owner of AS Roma, as well as Kirk Lacob, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Jason Sugarman and Harry Tsao. A few additional prominent owners are expected to be added to this list shortly.
"Today is day one and time for us to focus on developing a world-class stadium for the club to play in and for fans to enjoy," said Nguyen.
The new Los Angeles team's brand identity, along with the front office, coaching and administrative staff will be announced at later dates.
One of the most fervent soccer fan bases in North America, Los Angeles also is home to the four-time MLS Cup champion LA Galaxy. An original member of the League, the Galaxy play their home matches at the StubHub Center in Carson, CA.
"Los Angeles is a diverse, vibrant market with millions of soccer fans, and we look forward to an intense rivalry between the Galaxy and Los Angeles Football Club," added Garber.
Moelis & Company LLC acted as exclusive financial advisor to Major League Soccer.
With the addition of the new Los Angeles club, MLS will become a 22-team league in 2017 as a new expansion team in Atlanta will also begin play that year. Two more expansion teams will be added by 2020.
MLS Awards New Team to Los Angeles called LAFC , Press Release
Ownership Group led by Henry Nguyen and Sports and Entertainment Leader Peter Guber get awarded a new team in LA after Chivas USA was disbanded