New MLS L.A. team has owners, not much else

There’s more information out today (okay, really late yesterday) on the artist-soon-to-be-formerly-known-asChivas-USA: The new owners will include the billionaire Malaysian owner of Cardiff City, a co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Golden State Warriors, the owner of Vietnam’s first McDonald’s, and an ESPN basketball analyst; they’ll pay more than $100 million for an expansion team in L.A. to start play in 2017 or so, replacing Chivas, which will be dissolved immediately; and they’re looking at sites for a new soccer stadium, including, according to unnamed sources, ones “in downtown L.A. (‘not far from the Staples Center’) and near the Hollywood Park racetrack.”

One thing I can tell you right now: If the new owners plan on having a new stadium in place before they start play, no way in hell they take the pitch in 2017: It’d take about two years just to build a stadium, and they still have to decide on a site and a way to pay for it, let alone waiting out California’s environmental impact review process. They do have other options if they want to start play sooner — sharing digs with the Galaxy temporarily while a new stadium gets built, for example — but if they want to wait until stadium plans are finalized before actually launching the franchise, don’t be surprised to see that date slip. After all, David Beckham starting a team in Miami in 2016 was once considered a sure thing, and now it’s on the backest of burners.

Unless Los Angeles is considered such an awesome two-team market that nobody cares where the team plays, as happened with another large city not that long ago. But a new stadium by 2017? That ain’t happening.

5 comments on “New MLS L.A. team has owners, not much else

  1. Consider this sale may not be designed to come to fruition at all and just a convenient way to turn a lemon into lemonade. If the investor group made the purchase offer contingent on getting a stadium built – and perhaps on the further condition that they get it paid for mostly on someone else’s dime – then they risk nothing. TRhey’d have no problem agreeing to MLS’ inflated price for a start-from-scratch MLS team in a city where one has just folded. I mean, if someone is going to hand you $200M toward your stadium, $100M for a team suddenly is reasonable.

    So MLS can spin a scenario it knows is very unlikely to ever come to pass simply to change the subject, away from a story about MLS contracting a team it recently paid $60-70M to reacquire the rights to operate (aka Really Damaging News), to one about how monied buyers are banging down their doors to pay 7 figures for an LA team (aka MLS is the Hottest Thing Since Sliced Bread.)

    Recall MLS announcing they were in the final stages of getting the Queens stadium approved for NYCFC? Or the new team for Miami?

    PR bluster is MLS’ MO.

  2. Pedro: Yeah, that’s entirely possible as well. Really, it’s no lose for MLS here: Either they get a new stadium and team in L.A., or they have another expansion franchise to hand out at the exorbitant rates that people are willing to pay for these things. And in the meantime, as you say, nobody’s running “Chivas folds!” headlines…

  3. It’s interesting that they didn’t just suspend the franchise. The employees and players no longer need to be kept on the active payroll (the players may have to be paid out depending on the terms of their contracts), but the franchise remains technically active.

    Not sure anyone has ever run a “Chivas” headline Neil… at least not referring to this particular Chivas franchise. It’s been a dog since day one. I am a little surprised they didn’t try to sell it to one of the b-list cities who keep claiming they can get in to MLS if they just build a stadium… but maybe they’ve been trying to do that since buying the club back from Vergara?

  4. There’s only two places LA2 can build a stadium: by the Coliseum or in Hollywood Park. If AEG lures the Raiders or Chargers to their Farmers Stadium, they would probably have the AEG-owned Galaxy play downtown, too.

    I don’t think the owners of LA2 intend to build a stadium next to the Coliseum, but they will wait to see if Kroenke actually moves the Rams to Hollywood Park and ask him to join their little group. The Rams could actually move after the 2014 season, so opening a new stadium in 2017 would be cutting it close, but do-able. There might be local ownership rules or multiple sports team rules to consider, but I bet MLS would waive the rules for a new stadium.