FC Cincinnati has bolstered its ownership group, as billionaire Meg Whitman and her husband, Dr. Griff Harsh, invest in the club.
In an announcement issued last Wednesday, FC Cincinnati revealed that Whitman and Harsh had been added to the ownership group as new managing owners after receiving approval from the MLS Board of Governors. Whitman is an experienced business executive who is currently the Chief Executive Officer of Quibi, and has previously served as CEO and President of Hewlett-Packard Company and President and CEO of eBay Inc, among other positions.
As part of Wednesday’s announcement, FC Cincinnati also revealed that Whitman had been appointed as the organization’s Alternate Governor on the MLS Board of Governors by club CEO and controlling owner Carl H. Lindner III. More from the Cincinnati Enquirer:
Whitman and her husband, neurosurgeon Dr. Griff Harsh, purchased an ownership stake in FC Cincinnati, the team confirmed Wednesday afternoon. The new minority owners of the club reportedly took on approximately 20 percent of FC Cincinnati for $100 million, according to a Bloomberg report.
The investment brings FC Cincinnati’s valuation to an estimated $500 million.
Whitman started her professional career at Procter & Gamble corporate headquarters in Cincinnati where she continues to serve on its Board of Directors.
Whitman, along with Harsh, are also a one-time backers of Sacramento Republic FC when the second-division club was a front-runner for expansion in 2017.
FC Cincinnati began MLS play as an expansion team in 2019 at the Unviersity of Cincinnati’s Nippert Stadium. The club will compete there again next season, before opening its brand-new stadium on Cincinnati’s West End in 2021.
“Cincinnati has a special place in my heart and I’m so pleased to join FC Cincinnati at this exciting juncture in the club’s history,” Whitman said in a press statement. “FC Cincinnati and soccer have both already proven to be cultural forces in the market. Between the crowds at Nippert Stadium and the corporate commitments it has drawn, it’s a team with an exceptionally high ceiling. I’m looking forward to getting more deeply involved with the ownership group and helping elevate the club in the city, around the country and internationally.”
“We’re very excited to join the ownership group in Cincinnati,” Harsh said in a press statement. “We’ve been interested in getting involved with Major League Soccer for several years and FC Cincinnati was the perfect opportunity to invest in a club with such great ambitions. With our connections in the city, the disruptive nature of the club and the enthusiasm around the team, we see nothing but growth opportunities ahead for the team and the sport. We’re excited to get involved with the club and the league at this point in time.”