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Saturday, Feb 4, 2023

VICA to Fight for Soccer Team

The Valley Industry & Commerce Association said Friday it would fight for the Valley to host the new Major League Soccer team, one day after the team’s ownership was introduced with no Valley ties. The Sherman Oaks group said downtown Los Angeles – where media reports have indicated the owners may want to base the team – is an oversaturated sports market, with the Dodgers, Kings, Lakers and Clippers in a small area. The L.A. Galaxy soccer club is just a few miles south in Carson. “Many dismiss the Valley because they don’t think a team can survive in a sprawling suburb,” said VICA President Stuart Waldman in a statement. “The Valley is where families choose to settle down, but it isn’t your typical suburb. It isn’t Frisco, Texas. We will support a MLS team, and we can help the franchise achieve the success it didn’t in south L.A. County.” The club will replace the Chivas USA franchise, which shared the StubHub Center with the Galaxy. The club was shut down by the league, which bought out the prior ownership for a reported $70 million. It has been rebranded as the Los Angeles Football Club. VICA cites demographics in its pitch, noting the Valley is home to 1.8 million residents. If it were its own city, it would be the fifth largest in the United States – and the only one in the top 10 without a professional sports team of its own. The group also argues the Valley’s demographics would provide a solid fan base as the region is home to 400,000 people between the ages of 18-34, and 360,000 Valley residents are Latinos of second generation or later. It also boasts a strong youth and adult soccer league presence. Furthermore, the Valley is home to several affluent communities, including Westlake Village and Porter Ranch, which have average annual incomes above $100,000, VICA said. MLS is requiring the group to build a new soccer specific stadium for the team. VICA had several stadium sites in mind, including the old Rocketdyne facility on Canoga Avenue and Victory Boulevard in Warner Center, Cal State Northridge and Valley Plaza in North Hollywood. The ownership group was announced at a Los Angeles press conference. It is led by venture capitalist Henry Nguyen and Hollywood producer Peter Guber, co-owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors. Nguyen, managing general partner of IDG Ventures, a global venture fund, will be managing partner of the new MLS Club. Other owners include Vincent Tan, who owns the English club Cardiff City, Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm Garciaparra and Tony Robbins. Moelis & Co. in New York acted as exclusive financial advisor to MLS on the sale, which experts said likely exceeded $100 million.

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