A Sacramento MLS bid received a huge boost with the announcement that San Francisco 49ers (NFL) and Sacramento Kings (NBA) owners were buying into the ownership group.
Sacramento is one of three cities (as well as Minneapolis and Las Vegas) under consideration for a future MLS expansion team. And while the exact number of cities receiving serious league consideration is in a little flux — the bid by David Beckham’s group for a Miami team is certainly questionable because of the lack of a stadium plan — Sacramento may be the leading contender to land a team.
That status certainly was solidified with the news that San Francisco 49ers (NFL) and Sacramento Kings (NBA) owners, including Jed York, were investing in Sacramento Republic FC. Technically, the teams are not investing in Sacramento Republic FC: only members of the teams’ ownership groups. But that doesn’t mean you could see lots of crossover marketing from the NFL and NBA front offices. From the Sacramento Bee:
The Kings are building their own new arena and have said they could partner with Republic FC on marketing programs. Kings President Chris Granger said he became familiar with MLS during his 15 years with the NBA league office in New York, where he assisted NBA teams with business issues.
“I didn’t just visit NBA teams,” Granger said Friday. “My relationships across team sports, including MLS, could be helpful to the cause.”
As it is, Republic FC was a stunning success in its inaugural season in the minor league USL Pro, winning the championship and setting league attendance records. Team founder Warren Smith said the club is closing in on 8,000 season-ticket holders and added pointedly: “There are MLS teams that don’t have that.”
The final percentage of ownership and the amount invested still needs to be determined, according to Sacramento Republic FC officials. Still, as MLS expansion enters the home stretch, the bolstering of the Republic FC ownership will surely be a factor for the decision-makers in the MLS front office