WASHINGTON, D.C. - Victor B. MacFarlane, founder and managing principal of MacFarlane Partners, announced today he is leading a group of local and national business executives that has purchased the operating rights to D.C. United of Major League Soccer (MLS) from AEG, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company.
The new ownership group, D.C. United Holdings - which paid $33 million in cash for the four-time champion of MLS and assumes control of D.C. United immediately - will be a "majority minority," in that a majority interest in the team's operating rights will be held by individuals who are racial/ethnic minorities.
In addition to MacFarlane, the new ownership group includes William H.C. ("Will") Chang, chairman of the global investment firm Westlake International Group and one of the owners of Major League Baseball's San Francisco Giants; and Brian K. Davis and Christian Laettner, co-managing members of Blue Devil Partners, a real estate development firm in Durham, N.C.
The group also is in discussions to extend ownership interests to John S. Hendricks, founder and chairman of Discovery Communications, a global, real-world media and entertainment company based in Silver Spring, Md., and founder of the Women's United Soccer Association (WUSA), a professional soccer league that operated from 2001 to 2003; Allen Warren, president and chief executive officer of New Faze Development, a Sacramento, Calif., based real estate development firm; and Carlos Watson, host of Black Entertainment Television's (BET) talk show "Meet the Faith".
"I am proud not only to assume ownership of the premier professional soccer team in the United States, but to do so as an African-American," said MacFarlane, who will serve as the new ownership group's controlling member in league matters. "Our group is dedicated to supporting the organization so that the team continues to build on its history of excellence."
"It is exciting to present this diverse and local ownership group to the District of Columbia," said Washington, D.C. Mayor Adrian Fenty. "To have African-Americans own one of the District's major league sports teams is a tribute to this city, its citizens and our future. Everyone should be congratulated on this purchase. This is an historic event for D.C., and will put in motion even greater changes for our world-class city. I very much look forward to working with D.C. United as they continue their development plans and their service to the community through their wonderful charitable programs for our youth."
"I agree with Mayor Fenty," MacFarlane added. "I also am excited to have additional opportunities to further contribute to the community by working through the team's United for D.C. non-profit arm to support sports programs, promote reading initiatives and mentor minority youth in the District."
"Being a part of this new ownership group is a realization of a dream for me," said Davis. "While I am also proud of what I have accomplished as an African-American developer and businessman, having grown up in the District makes this all the more special. I have the opportunity now to directly give back to the community and support my hometown team."
D.C. United President and Chief Executive Officer Kevin Payne and all other front-office staff will continue to run the day-to-day business of the team. Payne has been a part of D.C. United since its inception.
D.C. United will open its new seasonal campaign against the Colorado Rapids in Colorado on April 7 before making its home debut at Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium on April 14 against the Kansas City Wizards. As winners of the 2006 MLS Supporters' Shield, United will begin play in the CONCACAF Champions' Cup against CD Olimpia of Honduras in February.
"D.C. United is guided by two missions: winning championships and serving the community, and our new ownership group shares in those goals," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "We look forward to the next chapter in D.C. United history with great anticipation and are excited to begin work with Victor, Will and Brian to carry D.C. United to a whole new level. On behalf of the players, the staff and the fans of D.C. United, I'd like to extend a heartfelt thanks to Phil Anschutz, Tim Leiweke and AEG for five terrific years together."
"The addition of D.C. United Holdings is the sixth new owner to join Major League Soccer since the beginning of the 2005 season," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. "Victor MacFarlane, Will Chang and their partners bring a fresh perspective to the League and will provide new ideas to our sport as we continue to build this 'Soccer Nation'."
The new owners become the third group to formally own United. Upon inception, the club was owned by Washington Soccer, L.P, before being purchased by AEG on February 15, 2001.
"As a business decision, this agreement makes sense as it will bring a very bright and motivated ownership group to MLS," said Timothy J. Leiweke, president & CEO, AEG. "However, from an emotional standpoint, we will truly miss this great franchise and the tremendous organization that Kevin Payne has assembled. From top to bottom, on and off the field, D.C. United was an example of a prototypical franchise that every team should strive to emulate."
"At the end of the day, we believe that it is in the best interest for the continued growth and success of the League for us to enter into this transaction," Leiweke continued. "We are very fortunate to be partners with Victor MacFarlane. He and his ownership group share our commitment and passion for the sport and will be great partners for the league."
About Victor B. MacFarlane
Victor B. MacFarlane is founder and managing principal of MacFarlane Partners, one of the leading minority-owned real estate investment management firms in the U.S., with $11.7 billion in assets under management. Headquartered in San Francisco, MacFarlane Partners invests in property markets nationwide on behalf of its pension-fund clients and operates regional offices in Washington, D.C.; Los Angeles; and the greater New York metropolitan area.
MacFarlane has worked extensively in property development, acquisitions, asset management and portfolio management on behalf of some of the nation's largest pension plans and institutions for the past 27 years. Recipient of the 2006 National Inner City Leadership Award from the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), he holds a master's degree in business administration from the University of Pittsburgh; a juris doctor degree from the University of California, Los Angeles; and a bachelor's degree in university studies from the University of New Mexico.
See the attached materials for biographical information on the other members of the new D.C. United ownership group.
About D.C. United
Headquartered in Washington, D.C. and playing home matches at RFK Stadium, D.C. United is the most successful professional soccer organization in the history of the United States. United are four-time MLS Cup champions (1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004) and winners of the 1996 U.S. Open Cup, the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the 1998 Interamerican Cup and the 1997, 1999 and 2006 MLS Supporters' Shield. United is one of 13 teams comprising Major League Soccer, joining CD Chivas USA, the Chicago Fire, the Colorado Rapids, the Columbus Crew, FC Dallas, the Houston Dynamo, the Kansas City Wizards, the Los Angeles Galaxy, the New England Revolution, Red Bull New York, Real Salt Lake and Toronto FC. For the latest headlines and official information on the Black-and-Red, log onto www.dcunited.com.
AEG is one of the leading sports and entertainment presenters in the world. AEG, a wholly owned subsidiary of the Anschutz Company, owns or controls a collection of companies including facilities such as STAPLES Center, The Forum (as exclusive booking agent for sports and entertainment programming), Toyota Sports Center, Toyota Park, Anaheim Arena (as preferred booking agent), NOKIA Theatre Times Square and NOKIA Theatre at Grand Prairie; sports franchises including the Los Angeles Kings (NHL), Los Angeles Riptide (MLL), Manchester Monarchs (AHL), Reading Royals (ECHL), Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo and Los Angeles Galaxy (MLS), two hockey franchises operated in Europe, the Hammarby (Sweden) Futbol Club and management of privately held shares of the Los Angeles Lakers (NBA) and Los Angeles Sparks (WNBA); AEG Marketing, a sponsorship, sales and consulting company; AEG Merchandising, a multi-faceted merchandising company; and AEG Creative, a full-service marketing and advertising agency.