Chinese investor joins USL's Phoenix Rising ownership group

Chinese investor Alex Zheng, who holds an interest in French club Nice, has purchased an interest via Advantage Sports Union in the USL's Phoenix Rising FC, which is seeking at MLS team.

Zheng's Plateno Hotel Group has built and owns 3,000 hotels in Asia and Europe. Zheng, Chinese-American Chien Lee and American Paul Conway bought an 80 percent interest in Nice in 2016.

"We were fortunate and flattered to meet with a number of impressive investors who have interest in Phoenix Rising FC, but Alex Zheng was exceptional," Berke Bakay, the Rising's governor said in a statement. "His amazing knowledge, experience and intellect were only exceeded by his incredible personality and passion for our sport."

Phoenix is not among the cities on the short list for the 26th MLS team, which could be awarded in the next few weeks, but it is considered an attractive market for MLS if it can assemble a strong ownership group and come up with a viable stadium plan.

The Rising group recently hired architecture firms Populous and Gould Evans to design a new stadium to replace its pop-up stadium that seats 6,200 and is located on the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.
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