By Barry Janoff
October 31, 2014: It has taken the NFL nearly 20 years and counting to add a team in Los Angeles.
Major League Soccer did it in a matter of days.
Less than a week after MLS disbanded Chivas USA, the league unveiled a second club to join the Los Angeles Galaxy, with an ownership roster of more than 20 people that includes Earvin "Magic" Johnson, Mia Hamm, Peter Guber and Tony Robbins.
The ownership group is led by entrepreneur Henry Nguyen, managing general partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam.
According to MLS commissioner Don Garber, the new franchise — currently known as Los Angeles Football Club — is scheduled to debut in 2017 in a new soccer stadium in the greater Los Angeles area built specifically for the team.
By then, MLS is scheduled to be a 22-club league with expansion in Atlanta, New York and Orlando. A group headed by David Beckham is working to establish a club in South Miami.
“We are thrilled to welcome Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and their owner partners to Major League Soccer,” Garber said in during the unveiling ceremony in Los Angeles on Thursday. “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 ownership group is filled with luminaries from sports, entertainment and business, bringing major firepower and financial resources to the club. Among them:
• Guber, who will serve as executive chairman of the new MLS club, 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 MLB's Los Angeles Dodgers.
“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."
• Basketball Hall of Famer Magic Johnson is chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises and an owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
• Mia Hamm Garciaparra is regarded as one of the greatest players in U.S. women’s soccer history. Her husband Nomar Garciaparra played for 13 years in MLB and currently is a SportsNet LA baseball analyst.
• Robbins is a life and business strategist, best-selling author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
• Rick Welts is president and COO of the Golden State Warriors.
• Ruben Gnanalingam is co-owner of the English Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers.
• Vincent Tan is owner of the Football League Championship’s Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
• Allen Shapiro is CEO of Dick Clark Productions and managing partner of Mosaic Media Investment Partners.
• Chad Hurley is co-founder and former CEO of YouTube and the founder and CEO of MixBit.
• Penn is a lawyer and veteran sports agent and TV analyst
According to Guber, “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. 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.”
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