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  • Matthew McConaughey is a minority owner in Austin FC. These celebrities are partial MLS team owners, too. – Austin American-Statesman

 April 14

by Carolina

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Professional sports is big business, with player contracts and a stadium costing millions of dollars, so getting a team on its feet requires big money upfront. Texas native Matthew McCoughaney invested in his adopted hometown’s professional soccer team in 2019.

The Academy Award-winning actor is one of a group of seven who makes up the ownership group led by Anthony Precourt, who previously owned the Columbus Crew.

“Austin finally has a team that allows us to root for our city,” McCoughaney said ahead of his team’s season opener against LAFC. “It’s the perfect game for Austin and it is a perfect city for the game. Now, we have a place we can all hang. I hope that snapshot from the sky shows all of the little boroughs and tribes and colors and diversity that make up Austin, Texas.”

How McConaughey became owner: ‘Austin finally has a team that allows us to root for our city,’ McConaughey says

For subscribers: Austin has finally emerged as a pro sports city. You can thank Austin FC for that, Bohls says

The terms of McConaughey’s investment were not disclosed, but he is far from the first celebrity to put their earnings into US professional soccer. Here are a dozen others who did the same:

David Beckham: Inter Miami

The English soccer star concluded his playing career on the field for the LA Galaxy in 2013. His contract stipulated he would have the option of purchasing an MLS team for $25 million, an option he exercised in 2014.

In 2019, Beckham reported purchased one-third stake in the team for $50 million, placing the value of the team at $150 million. By 2020, Inter Miami was born and entered the MLS. Beckham and four others make up the ownership group of the franchise.

Drew Carey: Seattle Sounders

In 2007, Drew Carey joined three others as part of an ownership group that sought to bring professional soccer to Seattle. The team became the league’s 15th team when they joined the league in 2009.

Carey remains with the team, serving as chairman of Sounders FC Alliance. The team was valued at $405 million in 2019 by Forbes.

Kevin Durant: Philadelphia Union

In June 2020, Durant acquired 5% ownership in the Philadelphia Union. 

 “I’ve been a fan of the sport, and then seeing how fast the popularity of the league was growing, seeing more fans pop up in different cities around the country, and then seeing how these franchises impact the city’s businesses and people individually was very intriguing,” Durant told ESPN in an exclusive interview at the time.

The team was valued at $240 million the year before by Forbes.

Will Ferrell: Los Angeles FC

The comedian was announced as part of LAFC’s ownership in 2016 before the team joined the league in 2018.

The ownership group is made up of 30 investors who bought out Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan’s 20% stake in 2020. The deal put the team’s value at $700 million, by far the most for a franchise in the league history thus far.

Nomar Garciaparra: LAFC

Just like Ferrell, Garciaparra was announced as part of LAFC’s ownership in 2016 before the team joined the league in 2018. His wife, soccer legend Mia Hamm, did the same.

The ownership group is made up of 30 investors who bought out Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan’s 20% stake in 2020. The deal put the team’s value at $700 million, by far the most for a franchise in the league history thus far.

Ken Griffey Jr.: Seattle Sounders

The Seattle Mariners great joined the Sounders ownership in 2020. The team was valued at $405 million the year before by Forbes.

Mia Hamm: LAFC

As stated before, Mia Hamm joined LAFC’s ownership in 2016. Hamm joined several other celebrities in former players in investing in an NWSL expansion franchise that is scheduled to begin play in 2022 (see below).

The ownership group is made up of 30 investors who bought out Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan’s 20% stake in 2020. The deal put the team’s value at $700 million, by far the most for a franchise in the league history thus far.

Magic Johnson: LAFC

The Los Angeles Lakers legend has his money in countless L.A. franchises. He joined the ownership group in 2016 alongside several celebrities.

Johnson is also part of an ownership group that owns the majority stake in the L.A. Dodgers. At one point, he owned a small share of the Lakers, too.

The ownership group is made up of 30 investors who bought out Malaysian businessman Vincent Tan’s 20% stake in 2020. The deal put the team’s value at $700 million, by far the most for a franchise in the league history thus far.

James Harden: Houston Dynamo

In 2019, James harden bought a 5% stake in the Houston Dynamo. The NBA star and boxer Oscar De La Hoya own a share in both the Dynamo and Houston’s NWSL franchise (see below).  

The team was valued at $208 million that year by Forbes.

Macklemore: Seattle Sounders

Seattle native Macklemore and his wife were among 11 families that were introduced as new partial owners of the Seattle Sounders in 2019. Among them was Russell Wilson and his wife Ciara.

The team was valued at $405 million that year by Forbes.

Steve Nash: Vancouver Whitecaps

After a career playing in the NBA, Steve Nash invested a good chunk of his earnings into bringing professional soccer to Vancouver in 2011.

He remains a minority owner in the team, which in 2019 was valued at $215 million by Forbes.

Russell Wilson: Seattle Sounders

Like Macklemore, Wilson and his wife Ciarra were introduced as owners of the Sounders in 2019.

The team was valued at $405 million that year by Forbes.

Bonus: NWSL teams with celebrity ownership

Professional women’s soccer continues to grow in the U.S, in large part thanks to new television deals and investment from ownership. National Women’s Soccer League teams eams like the Houston Dash count James Harden and Oscar De Le Hoya among their ownership and the expansion team in Kansas City has the backing of Patrick Mahomes and his wife Brittany Matthews.

More: For women’s soccer in Austin, there’s no time like the present

More so than any other team on this list, the NWSL’s Angel City FC counts several celebrities and former soccer players as their investors, including Jessica Chastain, James Corden, Lauren Holiday, Eva Longoria, Lilly Singh, P.K. Subban, Abby Wambach and Serena Williams, and several more.

The team is set to open NWSL play in 2022.

Original posted at www.statesman.com

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