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Volume 25 No. 45
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Penguins' Ron Burkle Interested In Being Sac Republic's Lead Investor

California-native Burkle is one of several interested potential investors in Republic FC
Photo: GETTY IMAGES

Penguins co-Owner Ron Burkle toured Sacramento's soccer stadium site and has had "detailed discussions with Republic FC and Mayor Darrell Steinberg about becoming the lead investor" in an MLS expansion franchise, according to a front-page piece by Ryan Lillis of SACRAMENTO BEE. City and team officials also have "met with a group" led by former NBAer Omri Casspi and two East Coast real estate magnates, one of whom owns a stake in the T'Wolves. Public records show that a "third ownership scenario for an MLS team in Sacramento may also be in play." A city records request filed by an Austin law firm in April "sought correspondence" between city officials and Crew Owner Anthony Precourt. Precourt "plans to move the Crew to Austin before next season," but the records request has "fueled speculation that Sacramento may be Precourt’s second option if he’s unable to secure a stadium deal in Austin." In addition to the Burkle and Casspi groups, "several other potential investors have expressed interest in leading or becoming involved in Sacramento’s bid, including a financier from Miami and an individual from Chicago." Sacramento was "passed over for a spot in the latest round of MLS expansion because the league wants Republic FC to find a wealthy investor" who can help cover the $400M upfront cost of a franchise and "keep the team financially viable in the long term." Republic FC Chair & CEO Kevin Nagle has said that he is "willing to bring in a new investor to help lead the bid." MLS Exec VP/Communications Dan Courtemanche said that the league’s BOG will "discuss the next round of expansion during its meeting at the All-Star Game on Aug. 1 in Atlanta" (SACRAMENTO BEE, 6/14).

THE DOCTOR IS IN: In Sacramento, Ben van der Meer noted Beverly Hills plastic surgeon Garth Fisher has "joined" the Republic FC investor team. Nagle "did not state to what extent or in what capacity." Republic FC officials said that Fisher is "one of a handful of minority investors who've come on board as the team has tried to find a 'whale' investor to bolster its MLS chances." Fisher is best known as the "driving force" behind the "Extreme Makeover" reality TV show (BIZJOURNALS.com, 6/12).