Gabriel Brener, a Mexican businessman and formerly a minority owner of the Houston Dynamo, has purchased a controlling stake in the Major League Soccer franchise from Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), the club announced on Tuesday.
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AEG, which was responsible for relocating the franchise to Houston in 2006, also owns and operates the LA Galaxy, which means that Tuesday’s announcement marks the first time in MLS history that no ownership group holds any ownership stake in multiple teams in the league.
Brener, alongside legendary boxer Oscar De La Hoya, bought a minority stake in the franchise back in 2008. Brener, De La Hoya and two additional investors, Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill, are now set to take full control of the franchise 10 years after having arrived in Houston.
“We are thrilled to have Gabriel Brener become the majority owner of the Houston Dynamo,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Gabriel has been an important member of our Board of Governors for more than seven years, and is highly respected throughout the soccer community. Houston is one of Major League Soccer’s cornerstone markets, and we know that Gabriel, Oscar De La Hoya and their new partners—Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill—will continue to build upon the Dynamo’s rich heritage.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s, it was AEG, led by Philip Anschutz, and fellow league investors Robert Kraft and Lamar Hunt who sunk tens of millions of dollars of their own money into the league, just to keep it afloat during much leaner years which featured the constant threat — and reality — of franchise relocation and contraction.
As MLS plows full-steam ahead into its third decade of existence (2015 marked its 20th season), the league will feature 24 teams at the start of the 2018 season, with plans to expand to 28 in the years following thereafter.