After a long search, Sacramento Republic FC has a new lead owner, with Ron Burkle announced as buying a controlling interest in the USL team–a move that significantly advances the city’s MLS dreams.
We alluded to this development in yesterday’s newsletter, and now it’s official after a letter to fans from Sacramento Republic FC chairman and CEO Kevin Nagle:
For more than a year, we have worked tirelessly alongside Mayor Steinberg to identify a new lead investor that further strengthens our bid to bring Major League Soccer to Sacramento.
While we held discussions with several potential investors, our focus was, and remains, on finding the right lead investor whose vision for our club and our city best aligns with ours.
We are thrilled to announce today that we have found that new lead investor in Ron Burkle.
Mr. Burkle is an exceptional leader and businessman, a champion sports owner, a dedicated philanthropist, and someone with a deep appreciation for Sacramento. He is the ideal person to lead the next chapter of our club.
Thank you to our proud supporters for their commitment throughout this process. Though our work is not done and our ultimate goal has not been reached yet, I am confident that no club is better prepared for MLS than Sacramento Republic FC.
Republic FC Chairman & CEO
Ron Burkle, whose net worth is pegged at $2 billion by Forbes, has been rumored as buying control of the team since last spring. Burkle is an investor in the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins and sought to buy the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. He made his fortune as an investor specializing in supermarkets and the food trade. His investment in Sacramento Republic FC includes a purchase of the downtown stadium site, as well as additional acreage planned as an entertainment district.
The need for a deep-pocketed lead investor was made clear by MLS officials to Sacramento Republic FC owners since the latest round of expansion began. Sacramento has been mentioned as a leading MLS expansion market in recent years, thanks to a positive local economy, USL success and a new downtown stadium plan in place. The addition of Burkle leaves MLS with several strong expansion contenders, as we noted in our last look at the leaders for the league’s 28th team. Will it be enough to catapult Sacramento past Phoenix and St. Louis? We’ll see.
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