It’s official. After months of talks, Kevin Durant has bought a minority stake in the Philadelphia Union of the MLS, confirming a story by Sports Business Journal two weeks ago.
The Nets star has acquired a 5 percent stake in the team, with the option to acquire another 5 percent in the future.
“I felt like it was a chance that I could impact more than just a city that I’ve played in and been a part of,” he told The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I wanted to align myself with a franchise that was impacting more than just sports.”
The Union welcomed its new investor on Twitter...
As did KD...
Majority owner Jay Sugarman wouldn’t confirm a dollar value for Durant’s take, the Inquirer reported, but he did say it sets the team’s value “north of the most recent expansion fee.” That would put it at greater than $325 million, the fee paid by owners of the league’s new Charlotte franchise. That would mean KD paid somewhere in the range of $15 to $20 million. Thirty Five Ventures, his investment vehicle, will control the stake.
“When I found the opportunity to have a conversation with Jay and Richard (Leibovitch), we talked about MLS as a whole, the sport as a whole, the future of the game and where they wanted to take it,” Durant said. “Seeing how Chester and Philadelphia and that whole area can be impacted by the franchise, I wanted to be a part of it.”
The Union is headquartered in Chester, PA, a Philly suburb that’s economically depressed. Relations between the team and town have historically been rocky, but have improved lately, the Inquirer reported.
Durant, 31, joins James Harden as an MLS team owner. Last July, Harden invested $15 million in the Houston Dynamo franchise. The presence of sports stars among MLS owners could help the league improve its ability to win a bigger TV rights deal, reports CNBC.com
KD had a reported interest in the DC United, which plays in Washington, but was rebuffed. Then, last December, he visited Chester and began the process of buying into the team and league.
After the purchase was announced, Durant told ESPN that his dream is to own an NBA team.
“I would love to,” Durant told Jeff Carlisle of ESPN. “[Owning an NBA team] is the goal, that’s the plan. But who knows? It’s a tough business to get into obviously. You need a lot of capital to do it. But I’m just learning the business, learning the sport, really keeping my love for the sport. I think that will lead me in the right direction. We’ll see what happens.”
The MLS and the NBA will both play this summer at ESPN’s Wide World of Sports, part of Walt Disney World. No word yet if players (or owners) will be able to watch the other sport’s games.
- Kevin Durant becomes an owner of the Philadelphia Union to make an impact in Chester, not just in soccer - Jonathan Tannewald - Philadelphia Inquirer
- NBA star Kevin Durant takes 5% stake in Philadelphia Union soccer team - Jabari Young - CNBC
- NBA star Kevin Durant buys stake in MLS side Philadelphia Union - Jeff Carlisle - ESPN
- Durant joins ownership group for soccer’s Philadelphia Union - Anne M. Petersen - AP