For the second time this month, a pair of U.S. soccer teams is changing hands.
Segal is buying the teams from Gabriel Brener, who retains a minority stake. Brooklyn Nets guard James Harden and boxer Oscar De La Hoya are also part-owners.
This is Segal’s first foray into sports team ownership. He is the founder of EJS Group, a firm that develops and finances real estate projects, primarily in the New York City area.
U.S. soccer franchises have been selling at a rapid pace as the league grows. Viewership is up 30%. MLS earns $90 million annually from TV rights.
- The Wilf family, the real estate barons who own the Minnesota Vikings, agreed to purchase Orlando SC and the Orlando Pride this month for between $400-450 million.
- Carolina Panthers owner David Tepper spent $325 million to bring a new MLS team to Charlotte. Charlotte FC will become the league’s 28th team in 2022, followed by St. Louis SC the following year. Sacramento was slated to be the 30th team, but primary investor Ron Burkle pulled out.
- Real Salt Lake is on the market, with numerous interested buyers including New Jersey Devils and Philadelphia 76ers owner David Blitzer.
Like other leagues, MLS is looking forward to brighter days ahead. Commissioner Don Garber said the league lost close to $1 billion in 2020 and could approach that figure again this year.
Last year, the league amended rules to allow private equity financing in MLS clubs, making it easier for a larger number of investors to buy minority stakes.