close to selling soccer team, paper says
By Joyzelle Davis
Rocky Mountain News
Wednesday, October 11, 2006
Anschutz Entertainment Group is reportedly again close to
selling the rights to Major League Soccer team D.C. United, a
move that would pare Anschutz's soccer holdings to three teams.
Brian Davis, who is managing partner of Durham, N.C.-based Blue
Devil Ventures, was quoted in Sunday's
newspaper as saying a deal for D.C. United "will be announced
this month. . . . We're buying the team for $33 million."
Doug Hicks, spokesman for D.C. United, declined to comment.
Davis, who is part of an investment group purchasing NBA's
Memphis Grizzlies, didn't return a call for comment.
D.C. United, home to 17-year-old phenom Freddy Adu, has been on
the market since a $26 million deal between AEG and a Virginia
investment group fell apart in January.
United is one of Anschutz's few teams that doesn't have its own
soccer-specific stadium, which is central to the company's
strategy to turn a profit. But it is the MLS' most successful
team and has won four league championships in nine years.
If the sale is completed, D.C. United would be the second team
AEG has shed this year. In March it sold rights to the New
York/New Jersey MetroStars to Red Bull, the Austria-based
energy-drink maker, while retaining a 50 percent stake in the
Harrison, N.J., soccer stadium.
Unlike other sports leagues, which sell individual franchises,
MLS investors finance the league and are given the operating
rights to specific teams.
Qwest founder Anschutz helped launch the league in 1996 and this
year was inducted to the National Soccer Hall of Fame for his
efforts. At one point he controlled six MLS teams, including
the Colorado Rapids. AEG in 2003 sold operating rights for the
Rapids to Kroenke Sports Enterprises, owner of the Colorado
Avalanche and Denver Nuggets.
Phil Anschutz's operations span many industries, including
theaters, railroads, sports teams and oil. Among the holdings:
• A majority
stake in Regal Entertainment Group, which controls former
independent theater chains United Artists, Regal Cinemas and
• Nearly 5
percent of the Omaha-based Union Pacific railroad
San Francisco Examiner
and Washington Examiner
• Staples Center
sports arena in Los Angeles
• Four pro soccer
teams: D.C. United, Los Angeles Galaxy, Chicago Fire and
• A 30 percent
stake in the Los Angeles Lakers NBA team
• NHL's Los
• A stake in
Denver-based Forest Oil
production company Walden Media, whose releases include
The Chronicles of Narnia: The
Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe