A group led by Henry Nguyen and Peter Guber are negotiating a Chivas USA purchase, with the team likely to be shut down for at least one year while rebranding and new-stadium efforts commence.
The report from SI.com’s Grant Wahl has the details. It’s no secret MLS wants to be rid of Chivas USA, which it purchased from previous ownership in an affort to keep the second team in Los Angeles alive. But it dawned on MLS officials that the Chivas USA brand is probably too tainted to be revived, and so technically the Chivas USA ownership stake in the league will go away, and the new group buying into MLS for $100 million, the same expansion fee paid by NYC FC. (Remember: MLS is structured differently than most pro leagues in that memberships in league ownership are sold; an owner buys the right to play in the league, not to own a specific franchise a la MLB and the NFL.) The new ownership group has some interesting names:
Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American venture capitalist who recently brought the first McDonald’s franchise to Vietnam. He would move to Los Angeles as the majority partner. Guber is a Hollywood producer and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden State Warriors. [Vincent] Tan is the flamboyant Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, which played in the Premier League last season, and would be a minority owner. And Penn is a former NBA executive and analytics expert who has worked at ESPN.
Guber is interesting: the Hollywood producer is also emerging as a major player in the sports-business world. Besides his investment in the Dodgers ownership, he recently cashed out of his investment in Mandalay Baseball Properties — which has liquidated four of its five teams — and purchased the Triple-A Oklahoma City RedHawks along with other investors. He’s been an aggressive spender, and working on a new-stadium development as part of the purchase makes sense.
Speaking of a new stadium: according to SI, the two preferred spots are downtown Los Angeles (near the Staples Center) and near Hollywood Park. Downtown, of course, is the holy grail for sports leagues these days: Arte Moreno, owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, had some talks about a new downtown ballpark, and NFL officials were in discussions about a new downtown stadium. Both those efforts fizzled.