NBA star Kevin Durant is now part of the Philadelphia Union ownership group as an investor and community partner after buying a 5 percent ownership stake in the club, with the option to purchase an additional 5 percent in the near future.
The deal also features an expanded partnership with Durant and sports business executive Rich Kleiman’s Thirty Five Ventures, focusing on growing the Union footprint in the sports world, working closely with the Union on marketing opportunities, and expanding the Union’s community outreach in conjunction with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation (KDCF).
“I’m excited to partner with the Philadelphia Union for years to come. My team and I connected instantly with the Union coaching staff and leadership, as well as the team’s story,” Durant said via press release. “Off the pitch, I’m looking forward to working in the Chester and Philadelphia communities and making an impact in the same way that the KDCF has been able to in my hometown of Prince George’s County.”
“The partnership between Kevin and the Philadelphia Union is based on a set of shared values and philosophies,” said Jay Sugarman, Principal Owner of the Union. “We want to be known as an innovator in our league and a team that is never satisfied with the status quo. Kevin brings us unique perspectives as a person, as a champion, and as a sports icon. His work with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation has shown he has a community-first mindset that resonates with our club’s DNA. Combined with his competitive drive and forward-thinking mentality, we believe Kevin adds a key piece in reaching our ambitions for the club.”
The Union and Thirty Five Ventures have committed to developing programs in the Chester and Philadelphia areas with three main focuses. First, they will work to empower Chester’s youth to tackle social and racial injustice in their community and beyond via social justice programs and resources. Second, they will address needs related to COVID-19, with support for food banks and local small business recovery efforts. Finally, they will support youth sports programming and development in Chester and surrounding areas.
“We are excited to bring our expertise to this partnership and help expand the Philadelphia Union’s footprint not only in soccer, but the sports world as a whole,” said Rich Kleiman, Partner, Thirty Five Ventures. “We set out to create a different type of partnership that isn’t simply a passive ownership stake, but real involvement across marketing and business development from the whole Thirty Five Ventures team.”
Co-founded by Kevin Durant and his business partner Rich Kleiman, Thirty Five Ventures incorporates the duo’s business entities across sports, tech, media, philanthropy and more. Recent Thirty Five Ventures initiatives include: the Durant Center, a state-of-the-art educational and leadership facility in Durant’s hometown in Prince George’s County, Maryland; the sports business platform The Boardroom; the recently debuted Basketball County: In The Water documentary on Showtime; and an equity partnership with premium audio brand Master & Dynamic.