Photo via Wikimedia Commons
Photo via Wikimedia Commons

An ownership group that includes Magic Johnson, former baseball star Nomar Garciaparra and his wife — women’s soccer great Mia Hamm — will bring a new Major League Soccer team to Los Angeles beginning in 2017, league officials announced Thursday.

The team, replacing Chivas USA, which disbanded this week, will play in a new stadium “specifically built for the team” in the Los Angeles area, according to MLS. Details were not released.

The ownership group for the new franchise will be led by Vietnamese venture capitalist Henry Nguyen, film producer Peter Guber and former NBA executive-turned-broadcaster Tom Penn.

“We believe this team can become one of the most outstanding clubs in Major League Soccer and a globally-recognized brand,” said Nguyen, the managing general partner of IDG Ventures Vietnam. He will be managing partner of the new MLS club.

Guber is chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group, the owner and co-executive chairman of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors and co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Guber will serve as executive chairman of the new MLS club.

“The business of sports and entertainment is all about winning on the field and providing an exciting product that will develop a passionate and loyal fan base,” Guber said. “The Los Angeles market has millions of soccer supporters, and we know that this new team can fulfill the promise of success on the field and provide a great experience for our fans.”

MLS Commissioner Don Garber called the ownership group “visionary,” saying it will “chart a course that will further elevate the sport in this great city and, combined with a new state-of-the-art stadium, accelerate us down the path toward becoming one of the top soccer leagues in the world.”

A name for the new team has not been announced.

Other members of the ownership group include Ruben Gnanalingam, co-owner of the English Premier League’s Queens Park Rangers; Vincent Tan, owner of the Football League Championship’s Cardiff City and FK Sarajevo of the Premier League of Bosnia and Herzegovina; author/motivational speaker Tony Robbins; Allen Shapiro, CEO of Dick Clark Productions and managing partner of Mosaic Media Investment Partners; Chad Hurley, co-founder and former CEO of YouTube and the founder and CEO of MixBit; and Rick Welts, president and COO of the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

Chivas played for 10 years at StubHub Center in Carson, sharing the facility with the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The struggling franchise, founded as a subsidiary of the popular Mexico club C.D. Guadalajara, was purchased by the league in February, with the intention of eventually selling it. Instead, the team played what turned out to be its final game on Sunday, a 1-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes.

—City News Service

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