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Philip Anschutz's AEG up for sale
by Paul Kennedy, September 19th, 2012 12:16AM

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TAGS:  los angeles galaxy, mls, soccer business

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[MLS SPOTLIGHT] What would AEG be without Philip Anschutz? And where would MLS be without AEG? Anschutz Company announced Tuesday it wants to sell AEG, its entertainment group that includes the Los Angeles Galaxy, as well as the NHL champion Los Angeles Kings. But its sports division is only a small portion of AEG, whose empire includes AEG Live, its music entertainment division, and who owns or operates facilities in 19 of the 50 biggest U.S. markets.

Reuters reported that potential buyers included John Malone's Liberty Media Corp and Rubert Murdoch's News Corp.

A sports consultant told the Los Angeles Times that the deal could be “biggest sport-based transaction in history," topping the $2.15 billion price tag for the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

AEG bought the Galaxy for $26 million after its third season in MLS, making Marc Rapaport's LA Soccer Partners the first owners to make a profit on soccer and prompting this memorable line from then-MLS commissioner Doug Logan on why the Galaxy was sold, "No one ever went broke selling at a profit."

Anschutz was one of MLS's original owners, drawn into soccer after attending the 1994 World Cup final as the guest of then-U.S. Soccer president Alan Rothenberg.

While MLS struggled for its first decade, Anschutz stuck with the league, and AEG expanded its hold to include interests in six clubs. At its height, AEG owned six of the league's 10 teams.

It is reported to be in the process of selling its 50 percent interest in Houston Dynamo to Houston Rockets owner Leslie Alexander.

Colorado Rapids
Purchased: 1995 (expansion team)
Sold:
2003 (to Kroenke Sports & Entertainment)
Price: undisclosed

Chicago Fire
Purchased: 1997 (expansion team)
Sold: 2007 (to Andell Holdings)
Price: $30 million (estimate)

Los Angeles Galaxy
Purchased: 1998 (from LA Soccer Partners)

D.C. United
Purchased: 2001 (from MLS)
Sold:
2007 (to D.C. United Holdings)
Price: $33 million

MetroStars
Purchased: 2001 (from Metromedia Partners)
Sold:
2006 (to Red Bull)
Price: $30 million (estimate)
(In addition to ownership of the club, Red Bull's deal with AEG includes naming rights for and a 50 percent ownership stake in the team's new stadium. Red Bull has since bought out AEG's other 50 percent interest in the stadium.)

Houston Dynamo
*Purchased: 2002 (from MLS)
Sold: 2008 (50 percent interest to Golden Boy Promotions and the Brener International Group)
Price: undisclosed
*AEG moved the San Jose Earthquakes to Houston for the 2006 season.



3 comments
  1. Rob Larson
    commented on: September 19, 2012 at 11:19 a.m.
    AEG helped the league get on solid ground, but hated them for selling out San Jose (moving to Houston) and quickly walking away after failing to get the stadium they moved to Houston to get!! Not sorry to see them go.

  1. David Sirias
    commented on: September 19, 2012 at 12:03 p.m.
    This has huge implication for MLS. The LAG is not a team MLS can screw around with. They are a foundational team that has to have stars and attract fans on the road. Newscorp has not demonstrated competence owning sports teams. LAG needs an owner that will not be a cheapskate and will treat the fans and supporters groups with respect. Easier said than done. And potentially this makes Chivas a lot more valuable. Gone is the assumption that LAG can play their big games in Farmers Field. Chivas can now go ball to wall and try to get the Sports Arena deal done with USC. Mark my words, a well run team in DOWNTOWN LA is more valuable.......... longterm. Finally, the sale price will reverberate throughout the league. How much will all boats be lifted. That is the question.

  1. Ric Fonseca
    commented on: September 19, 2012 at 1:53 p.m.
    So AEG wants out now, eh? The LA Times' article is far more detailed and informative than this SA very brief piece. AEG, it seems, probably had this in mind when Poppa Phil got involved with the MLS, and it appears to be in concert with his habit or business plans to acquire, build, and sell at a profit. But of even more interest is the timing of the announcement given the LA Chivas's owner's getting full control of his team after buying out the Cue brothers... food for thought and it begs to question whether these two million or is it billionaires have been talking to each other? Come now, think about it!


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