Investment group in talks with Sac Republic FC for bid to join MLS
Jul 27, 2023, 12:59 PM | Updated: Jul 28, 2023, 8:57 am
The Stronach Investment Group announced Thursday that it’s in talks with the Sacramento Republic FC for its bid to join Major League Soccer.
“We were made aware of this opportunity some time ago and have been exploring this and have had good discussions with the various stakeholders, including City officials, Sacramento Republic FC, and the league, ” said Kevin Gilmore, EVP and Chief Operating Officer of The Stronach Group.
The announcement comes two years after initial investor Ron Burkle pulled out of the MLS expansion for the team, citing issues amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Stronach Group owns well-known horse racing venues including Santa Anita Park and the soon-to-be closed Golden Gate Fields in the Bay Area.
Gilmore was appointed earlier this year as VP and COO. He’s known for helping transform the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens and more recently served as the president and CEO of MLS’s CF Montreal.
— Michelle Dapper (@KCRAdapper) July 27, 2023
Sacramento has been trying to lure the MLS to the city since the club’s inception back in 2014. MLS Commissioner, Don Garber visited Sacramento back in October of 2019 to award the city a franchise.
Eighteen months later, lead investor Burkle walked away from the bid.
Republic FC Chairman and CEO Kevin Nagle said in a statement that the team had been pursuing all options.
“Not for one second have I stopped our due diligence, research, as well as partnering with Mayor Steinberg and the city to ensure Sacramento gets all it deserves. I have said from the beginning Sacramento is a major league city. We have checked every box and continue to demonstrate that we are more than ready to go to the next level,” he said in a statement.
Stronach has not started negotiations with MLS. MLS currently has 29 teams in its league and recently admitted San Diego. If Sacramento were also admitted to the league, MLS owners would have to vote to expand the league past 30 teams.
“While I am very hopeful, I know there is still a long way to go,” Sacramento Mayor Steinberg said.