With news still reverberating around U.S. soccer circles that Major League Soccer have purchased the Chivas USA franchise from former owners Jorge Vergara and Angelica Fuentes, yes that really happened, attention now turns to what happens next.
Rumors have been circling for months that big changes were on the horizon for Chivas, with plans to rebrand the side leaked earlier this week. The league have confirmed the team will stay in Los Angeles and MLS Commissioner Don Garber also stated that they league will not rush to a solution as Chivas USA will keep the same name and play at the StubHub Center for the 2014 MLS season, with a new club president that will work with a budget from the league to be announced shortly.
Garber also confirmed that several local business groups are interested in acquiring the franchise, which the league had to convince Mr. Vergara and Ms. Fuente’s to sell to them as other interested parties were circling. This shows how strong the franchise is, at least as a business proposition, as years of turmoil on and off the field have made Chivas one of MLS’ most talked about franchises… for all the wrong reasons.
With the club up for sale, it’s time to dot some i’s and cross some t’s. American businessman Stank Kroenke recently purchased over 60 acres of land in the Inglewood area of Los Angeles. The Arsenal shareholder and current owner of the Colorado Rapids has been linked with taking over the Chivas USA franchise and building a new stadium in L.A., as the soccer obsessed billionaire seeks to increase his sports portfolio.
But on a conference call with reporters on Thursday evening, commissioner Garber quashed those reports.
“He [Kroenke] is not a candidate to purchase the team, those days are over,” Garber said, referring to the days when multiple MLS franchises were owned by the same families or organizations. “We are not interested in any other owner owning multiple teams. Stan’s been a great owner of the Colorado Rapids. I’m not familiar with what his plans are on the stadium site, we haven’t spoken about that. But all those rumors that I heard about him ‘buying the land so he could launch a second MLS team’ are unfounded.”
Garber was also asked if David Beckham ever considered bidding for the franchise, by PST’s Steve Davis, and the commissioner stated Beckham never showed an interest… but may have had he know the situation Chivas USA now find themselves in.
The words “mess” and “Chivas USA” have been synonymous in recent years. Gaber put that down to “executional issues” but stated that the owners where both huge believers in MLS and in trying to grow the sport in North America.
In the coming days and weeks there will be more fallout from this massive news that has rocked Major League Soccer, as Chivas USA are now owned by the league and are openly being shopped around, as they look for a brighter future for the franchise.