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Report: Investors identified as $100 million Chivas USA sale nears

Cardiff City owner Tan Sri Vincent Tan celebrates winning promotion to the Premier League

Photo by Kieran McManus/


It appears we have a winner in the Chivas USA sweepstakes.

According to a report from, MLS will soon announce the new owners of the Los Angeles-based team that will replace Chivas USA in the league. The ownership group believed to have to landed the franchise for a fee in excess of $100 million is comprised of four investors: Vincent Tan, Peter Guber, Tom Penn and Henry Nguyen.

Tan is the Malaysian owner of Welsh club Cardiff City, Guber is a Hollywood producer who co-owns MLB’s Los Angeles Dodgers and NBA’s Golden State Warriors, Penn is a former NBA executive and analytics guru who has also worked at ESPN, and Nguyen is a Vietnamese-American capitalist.

The group has reportedly committed to building a soccer stadium in Los Angeles. While MLS has talked about a potential location near the current LA Sports Arena in the past, the investors are reportedly looking at sites in downtown LA near the Staples Center and near the Hollywood Park racetrack.

The new LA team would not be expected to start play until 2017. It would be considered an expansion team in MLS, and Chivas USA would be terminated.

A formal announcement could some as soon as next week following the MLS Board of Governors meeting in LA on Monday.


What do you make of this development? Think the ownership group has extreme potential? Bummed to hear that the club will likely not take to the field until 2017?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I love the casual statement “the new ownership group will build a stadium in Downtown LA.” Good luck with that. If the NFL can’t get it done, with the godzillions of dollars both the league and the various potential ownership groups have floated at the city, there’s just absolutely no freaking way. Add to that the most viable downtown location would be near the Staples Center, already owned by -you wanna guess? AEG, owners of the Galaxy.

  2. This will be a positive for MLS. Now on the other hand, I would hate this if I was a LA Galaxy fan. This would give them a real competitor in the LA market. Chivas is a joke.

    • I got a funny feeling AEG isn’t going to simply sit aside and let LA2 just waltz their way to Exposition Park

      I bet they go to USC and offer to fund the eventual renovations of the LA Coliseum in exchange for a Soccer Specifc Stadium for the Galaxy in Exposition Park.

      In fact, I bet they go for this design.

      May be a little pricy, but may have to do it to outbid the LA2 group

      • AEG will be forced to up its game with a real competitor in the region, but I highly doubt they’ll move the Galaxy to a MASSIVE football stadium. That makes absolutely zero sense.

      • This was cool… thanks for sharing… interesting it was put together back in 2011.

        Ian— you can see the SSS in the corner of the property (he doesn’t mean the Coliseum itself, which is indeed a terrible place to watch soccer)

  3. Tan will be a part/minority owner and as such, it will be the president of the club or a designated managing partner who will make the day to day decisions. The owners will of course make the major decisions, but with three other investors any crazy decisions by one will be moderated by the others.
    Remember, the Chivas colors were RED and black/white. If you want to re-brand and go in a different direction, you do not keep your existing colors as they would remind too many of the past club.

    Kroenke does not own Hollywood Park. But his real estate development company recently bought a big chunk of land close to HP and the Fabulous Forum.

    AEG., ie the owners of the Galaxy and who also own a chunk of the Lakers and he Staples Center and recently received most of the development entitlements for a 50-60K seat stadium adjacent to the Staples Center and the LA Convention Center. (Farmers Field) The stadium was to be for a possible future NFL franchise for LA and one that has yet to be awarded and whose franchise fee is reportedly to be around 500-750M. So far there has been no franchise awarded and it has been that way for almost 30 years. Under normal circumstances, most entitlements _sundown” or expire if they are not exercised with a 5-7 year period. So AEG will have to lobby to extend those entitlements or build the stadium with no certainty of any future NFL team. But it would make for a great new home for the Galaxy 🙂

    The former Hispanic Mayor of LA, Antonio Villaraigosa endorsed the idea of building a world class soccer facility in the greater Downtown LA area, the current mayor. Eric Garcetti, also endorsed the idea, so there is political backing for the new ownership.

    While it may take another 30 years to get an NFL franchise in the LA Area, the MLS seem to have no problems getting another ownership group to buy another soccer franchise in LA.

    Crazy but right now, in LA, Soccer is the the third biggest Pro Sports (and no, I did not forget collegiate Football and Basketball ) in LA, so I think the new franchise will get going quickly.

  4. Hollywood Park is too close to South Bay where the Galaxy play. DTLA would be better for getting your own local fan base that can walk or take public transit to the stadium.

      • The GDP (Gross Domestic Product of the LA SMSA is around 800 billion, which is greater than most smaller national economies. It’s bigger than the City of London’s and such nations as Switzerland, Saudi Arabia or Argentina. It’s smaller than NY,NY (about 1.3B) or Tokyo’s. But the GDP and other factors the go into the number crunchers and bean counters who actually advise the MLS investors, so yes LA could easily support 3-4 teams, but no in the immediate future, but as the MLS and soccer grow, so will the demand, and the good financial predictor figures are already there.

  5. What happens to all the current Chivas players for the next two seasons? If the re-emerged Chivas in 2017 will be considered an expansion team, will it retain any rights to current players? (I assume no, but won’t be surprised if MLS throws together some weird “rule” when that time comes.)

    • I wouldn’t be surprised to see them all made available for the expansion draft. That would mean less players lost by the other 18 teams in a year where TWO expansion teams are picking. They can not become free agents; that much is certain.

  6. Not bad, now will they be better than galaxy in terms of money and marketing and hopefully they will have a good location, separate enough from Carson.
    Also, What if they put this team around Santa Monica or Hollywood and call it Hollywood stars fc.
    Just make a 20,000 stadium around Hollywood and Santa Monica and boom, that’s a real fancy club but If they want Los Angeles in the name, then Los angles metropolitans wouldn’t be bad.
    In addition, if garber is a genius, Miami and Los Angeles 2 would come in at the same time and rebrand red bull by 2020 to empire city fc or empire metrostars or cosmos.

    • Yeaaaah, not sure if you’ve been to the greater LA area but trust me when I say that there isnt any land available in Hollywood or Santa Monica.

      • There is very little “vacant land”, But in most urban core areas, money talks. Bring in a business that brings in more jobs, money and taxes, and it will force out the less economic intensive businesses. Farmlands make way for housing tracts, blighted urban cores are redeveloped and les intensive or objectionable uses are moves out for more intensive ones. Out go marginal heavy industrial areas and in come office parks, commercial parks and, yes even sports facilities.

        (This from a longtime native LA County resident and former city planner in LA, Orange and SD counties.)

      • What city did you work for in OC? I probably know some of your former co-workers if it’s been in the last 6-7 years.

  7. Tan is a quirky dude, but I actually like his passion. Since most new USA soccer fans have no institutional soccer traditions to offend, I think he’ll be great for MLS.

  8. No excuse changes in salary cap and DP rule.

    Move the team somewhere in So CA. Maybe the city of Los Angeles and Orange County is too costly in real estate, but Inland Empire or smaller city in L.A. County won’t be that costly.

  9. Tan is despised in Cardiff because he changed the team’s shirt color from blue (which they had played in for over 100 years) to red because apparently red is popular in Asia. Because people in Asia tune into the EPL to watch the likes of Cardiff, not Man City, Chelsea, Man Utd etc. Now they’re back in the Championship.

      • More importantly, find an ownership group with money. Without that, STL will continue to be a great “soccer city” without an MLS team.

    • MLS just doesn’t move teams here or there. Owners who pay for teams do. STL needs to have someone cough up the dough for a franchise and cover the cost of overhead.

  10. so this means Chivas USA is dead or will it be rebranded? can they move to East LA and out of the Home Depot Center?

  11. With Tan part of the ownership group (which for the entertainment factor I am a huge fan of) we know two things already:

    1st: the team colors will be red

    2nd: the team will be the LA Tigers.

    • his ridiculousness and owner disregard for history that the Cardiff fan hate will fit just fine in LA. Red/Black LA Tigers isn’t bad either!

      wow this is interesting news for the league.

    • My money’s on Dragons. Definitely red. LA Red Dragons? That’s kind of bad ass.

      It would be smart of Tan to market to the Asian communities in SoCal, which is home to the largest Southeast Asian population in America. California is 15% Asian.

  12. Doubt that LA2 is a success. LAG already has a strangle hold on LA. A team in OC would be good. The LA v OC rivalry is fierce. Dodgers/Angels and Ducks/Kings are underrated rivalries with fan bases who dislike each other.

    • I would hardly call what the Carson Galaxy have a “stranglehold” on LA. Lots of empty seats at their home games, even for so-called “Super Classicos” and “California Classicos.”

      An MLS team in Sacramento, where there’s clearly a passionate fan base begging for a team to support, would be more exciting for the league.

      • In reverse order:
        -There’s no reason there won’t be an LA2 AND MLS team in Sac. The Republic aren’t ready to move up by next March, no matter what they say.
        -I hope you’re not the kind of person that gets ruffled by use of the term “Long Island Cosmos” if you’re thoriwing around Carson Galaxy. The SHC, btw, is about two miles from the LA city limit…

      • Carson galaxy, jeez haven’t heard that one. If you want to get technical, the stubhub center is less than a mile from LA city limits.

      • It’s actually a few seats maybe 1500 empty. One another LA will only take away from the support and divide the city like it did with Chivas ever single person that supported them were old Galaxy supporters they had what 7000 fans so that’s the 7000 that use to pack the rose bowl they need to take this team to SD but even that might be a mistake half are cholo fans and the rest are galaxy fans all in all it’s a mistake

      • Dude. They were above 15,000 four seasons, and 3 other seasons above 14K. Their 2nd year, they were a hair below 20,000.

        Last year they were just over 9K, year before that 13K. Every other year they were above 14K minimum.

    • agreed, they need some distance between each other before its a rivalry.. the Lakers-Clippers / Galaxy-Chivas concept never worked for me.

      the Racetrack/Forum location sounds like its a bit too close to StubHub Center and is the likely location of the NFL team should that ever happen. A DTLA location would obviously be the best.

      • The Coliseum, where I’ve heard talk of the second stadium is a hole. The area around the Staples center, which was mentioned above, was recently renovated with new neighborhoods and shops and restaurants, and I think will have a lot more success in drawing a crowd.

  13. The NASL should think about wrapping up markets in 2nd cities and making a run at MLS with a cadre of 100% soccer enthusiasts who don’t own product lines competing with soccer.

    Why would a Dodgers owner want to cannibalize his baseball business by promoting soccer? England has been trying to get rid of Tan and now we get him?

    This has planned mediocrity written all over it.

  14. Why LA and not expand elsewhere? Can the LA market really support two MLS teams? And if Sacramento gets a team, can California really support 4 MLS teams?

  15. not a bad ownership group, but Tan will certainly make people have strong opinions. i really like the fact that Guber is involved because it’s always important to have someone with knowledge of how to do business in the city the team is operating in.

    the rumored stadium sites are good spots. i hope it works out for them.

  16. Do they own the land around Hollywood Park? The reason that I ask is that is one of the areas the NFL and potential owners have been looking for a new stadium for the Rams/Jags.

      • And more importantly, it’d be ideal if the location was much further north, Downtown at least. Hollywood Park is simply too close to Stub Hub to really grab a new audience, and having such a large population from which to source ticket sales is a primary attraction of the LA market. The further North & East they go, the better.

        Or go whole hog into OC, but personally I’m rooting against that option

  17. Tan is HATED in Cardiff. That red and black jersey he’s wearing was part of a rebranding (including the badge also) that changed 100+ years of blue and white tradition.

    Or perhaps then that makes this only fitting. Buy a team and Change Everything.

    • simple. it’s LA and an MLS franchise. the reason it is probably worth more than NYCFC is because their academy is already set up. and the Chivas USA academy is actually very strong. so my guess is this helped bump up the price a tad.

      • i think it’s more about what happens to the infrastructure that is established. because again, the Chivas USA academy is solid. it would stink for all of that to just go away. you’d like to think LA2 will just take over as opposed to setting up a new infrastructure all together and starting from zero. sure, LAG could take over but i think it’s much smarter to have two MLS academies in LA simply because there is too much youth talent between LA and San Diego to only have one. each academy can only handle so much.

        i’m sure we’ll get more and more details but i certainly hope LA2 will just take over the Chivas USA academy.

    • If you want a team elsewhere, maybe, but MLS may have said LA2 is only for sale as an existing franchise purchase — since Chivas is wash in red ink one assumes — probably with some of the purchase price expressly directed to either debt retirement or at least reduction.

      MLS would only hurt itself by saying, here, you get the sparkling clean franchise free of debt, and we get to fold a debt ridden team we now own, either pay the debt themselves or suffer the credit hit and shame of bankruptcy.

      • Doubt they’re wash in debt. Their former owner Jorge Vergara sold Chivas USA to MLS earlier this year for $70 million. Vergara is very wealthy and was probably covering operating losses. I dont think MLS would have paid $70 million and pay off Vergara’s debt if he had any.

      • +1 Have to doubt there would be exisitng debt. If MLS wanted to sanitize the franchise for sale, they would’ve taken this out at the first turn (MLS purchase from Vergara).

      • Team is paying millions in salary and being attended by 6k people. Even if Vergara took the past debts I’d be surprised if they didn’t run up more as a going concern.

        Vergara gets the $70 million, MLS gets the team plus whatever debt they obligated to buy it. MLS then has to pay the purchase price debt service and the going concern deficit/debt.

      • Put differently, one reason to hiatus the team is stadium.

        Another is branding.

        And another reason you’d off the team is to halt the going concern bleeding until you are presenting V.2. Otherwise it’s going to bleed red ink paying major league player millions while minor league size crowds watch.

      • Oh you mean working capital debt…. Thought you meant LT/Sr. debt., which I would be surprised at, but which could be a much larger number

        Yes they might have some debt here, but I’d be surprised if it was all that much. Forbes estimates Chivas annual operating loss at around 5.5mm, so maybe 3-4 million since the re-purchase. If it’s done as a typical acquisition financing, then this might very well be eaten by the seller.

      • Its important to note that Chivas isn’t worth $100m but a franchsie in LA is worth $100m (Same price as an NY market team) thats why a hiatus was necessary and the selling price was justified.

      • yeah, i’ve said that from the beginning. the value is 1. being in LA, and 2. having that MLS “exclusivity”.

        it’s all still pretty crazy.

      • Oh please…. the MLS does not have a monopoly on soccer. If a player feels his market value is higher than what MLS is willing to pay him, he has a dozen or more competing leagues in which he can go market his services.

        I feel sorry for American football players this way, but soccer players have it pretty good.

      • OK a player, an AMERICAN player has far fewer places to play than you seem to think… there is only MLS or the two minor leagues, USL Pro or NASL here and they don’t pay that well… to play elsewhere if you don’t have say a Common Market passport you need a fair bit of luck and likely a current National Team record to get a work permit in most European Leagues, certainly the big ones, so maybe Scandinavia… in the rest of the Americas clearly they have some chance in Mexico, but there really are few other leagues looking for journeymen non EU passport holders… and especially OLDER journeymen… so no there are NOT a dozen other leagues they can easily head to or I assure you they would… add to that if they wish to switch MLS sdes they have little clout in signing on because the single entity business is set up for the benefit of the Teams not the individual players… and their “rights” are held by the league so any team wishing to sign them even if they are out of contract has to PAY for that, something that the player has no control of what so ever

  18. Noooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! Not Vincent Tan! I guess they will wear wear Red and Black and piss off the supporters groups as quickly as possible! Thank God relegation is not a possibility in MLS!

      • I wouldn’t hate on Chivas fans. The one’s who have stuck around this long have to be really passionate about the team. It really sucks that they won’t have a team to support for the a few years. Hopefully in the long run it will be worth it for the relaunched LA club and MLS to get the stink of Jorge Vergara off that franchise.

      • Well said. Anyone who had Chivas season tickets for the last three seasons deserves free season tickets for life.

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