MLS refutes reports of looming Chivas USA sale as rumors swirl

Chivas USA Starting Lineup

By IVES GALARCEP

Major League Soccer released a statement on Friday about the ongoing rumors surrounding Chivas USA and their current owners.

Recent reports in Mexico have stated that Mexican billionaire Carlos Slim is interested in purchasing the entire Chivas franchise, which would include Chivas USA. On Friday, his son-in-law Arturo Elias Ayub declared that him and Slim were not in discussion with Chivas.

MLS moved to deny the rumors on Friday, issuing a statement imploring that there was nothing to the talk.

“Major League Soccer is aware of recent media speculation concerning Chivas USA,” read a statement from the league issued on Friday. “Such speculation is completely unfounded and untrue. MLS is fully supportive of the current owners of Chivas USA and has never considered taking over the club or moving it.”

American-based agent Ron Waxman, who counts Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy and former Chivas USA forward Juan Agudelo among his clients, made several statements on Twitter on Thursday insisting that a sale of Chivas USA was in the works. He followed up on Friday by standing by his Thursday comments:

Multiple sources told SBI on late Thursday that there was truth to the reports of a Chivas USA sale, though there were conflicting accounts of just what was happening. One Mexican report claimed MLS was stepping in and buying the team, while sources told Waxman and SBI that Slim was lining up to buy Chivas USA as part of a packaged sale with Chivas Guadalajara.

Adding to the buzz surrounding the rumors of a Chivas USA sale is the fact that David Beckham has expressed interest in exercising his option to purchase an MLS franchise. If the league, or another owner, rebranded Chivas USA and moved the team to a new market, it would mark the second time in league history such a maneuver has taken place (The San Jose Earthquakes were moved to Houston and renamed the Dynamo before a new San Jose team took over the same club name).

So is there truth to the rumors or not? What we do know is that it doesn’t help MLS one bit to have talk of a franchise moving out of a market, or rumors of MLS taking over a club, when the league is in the midst of trying to finalize a $100 million deal to put an expansion team in the New York market.

What do you make of this situation? Do you see the Chivas ownership situation being resolved soon? Hoping someone buys Chivas USA? Where would you move the Chivas USA team to?

Share your thoughts below.

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50 Responses to MLS refutes reports of looming Chivas USA sale as rumors swirl

  1. Seaoctopus says:

    The empty stands behind the team tells the tale

    • WiscFan says:

      Agreed. The Chivas experiment also serves as a more likely scenario to any potential foreign club looking into establishing a satellite or sister club in any MLS market, the great risks of alienating more fans than drawing them to the stands.

      If Chivas do relocate, Orlando would seem a good candidate and add NYC2 as #20. My hope is NYC2 would not be a rehash of Man City just as if the Glaziers ever set up a Tampa club it wouldn’t be Man Utd-esque. Not saying that would be a very likely scenario.

      Also Beckham’s franchise option could work for him in either market. I believe NYC is currently off the table, but just about anything can be renegotiated especially in MLS.

      • THomas says:

        Aren’t the Red Bulls a sister club? Seems to be going okay for them.

        • Northzax says:

          Completely different. First off it wasn’t founded as a step sister, it was bought into the fold. Second, it wasn’t a team branding, it was a corporate one (no one thought the immense us fan base for RB Salzburg was going to flock to Harrison; they aren’t trying to do things the ‘Salzburg Way’ far a i know there isn’t one) third, it wasn’t done on the cheap, RB has put serious coin into the club, from RB Arena, to Henri, Cahill and the like. MLS is different, the roster rules, the salary caps, the player acquisition process, the very player pool. Anywhere else, money is what matters. (Give me 250m euros and I can win any league in Europe within three years; see City, Manchester, PSG, etc) mls is actually more challenging from a managerial/ownership perspective, as even Red Bull has discovered.

          Oh, and without the investment in Red Bull Arena, the club would be right where Chivas and DCU (tear) are right now, looking up at everyone else. Sure, everyone wants to live in New York, but is Henri playing on the turf at MetLife?

    • Josh D says:

      With Beckham’s retirement and these rumors, it’s easy to see what’s happening: Beckham’s wants to exercise his contractual right to purchase an MLS team when he retires and MLS recognizes Chivas is a failure.

      Now, where does Beckham and co put the team? Miami?

  2. Smith says:

    This team has been a disaster from the outset. Sell them, relocate them, rename them. Just be rid of them.

    • ed - houston says:

      Not true, they were successful, making playoff and decent turn out, the first few years.

  3. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Any rational solution that gets Chivas moved and rebranded is good for the league. As far as impacting the NYC II deal, it is easily positioned as the failed commitment of a screwy owner. The league is strengthened overall by the removal of Chivas USA

  4. bryan says:

    “What we do know is that it doesn’t help MLS one bit to have talk of a franchise moving out of a market, or rumors of MLS taking over a club, when the league is in the midst of trying to finalize a $100 million deal to put an expansion team in the New York market.”

    im not so sure given it’s chivas usa. doesn’t really count lol

  5. Scott e Dio93 says:

    This was a failure from the start, maybe Simms could inject major capital and pay big names DPs for the team.

  6. Derek says:

    Indy Eleven sure wouldn’t mind taking their spot in the league. Lord knows we’d support the team better.

    • Footy76 says:

      Kind of a premature assumes your team has not even step on the pitch yet. D1 is a horse of a different color. I wish your club luck but let’s see what you do in ticket sells for the next three seasons then we can come to that conclusion.

      • meh says:

        D2/D3 ticket sales have little to do with who gets into MLS (but Indy’s season ticket sales have been impressive so far).

        What you need is a billionaire owner and a SSS (or equivalent), with favorable revenue streams, ie, you must own the rights to all ticket sales, stadium concessions, parking revenue, corporate naming rights, etc.

  7. Kojo says:

    Slim’s a smart guy that’s why he is the second wealthiest person in the world. So he buys Chivas USA when he buys the whole Chivas brand. He claims that Chivas USA is not worthy of the Chivas brand because it employs non-Mexicans and sells it off. I’m sure he makes a profit on selling Chivas USA and at the same time looks like a savior to the Chivas brand to the Mexican fans. MLS gets a new owner relocates the team to a better market (San Diego, or somewhere in the Southeast), drops the Chivas name and rebrands as a new team. This is what people like Ichan or KKR, or Bain Capital do for a living buy what you have to and then sell what is not profitable to better your bottom line. In this case Chivas USA doesn’t fold it just takes on a new life under a new name, ownership, and city.

    • Gary Page says:

      Exactly what I am hoping for. It would be the best solution.

    • Dr_n-Do says:

      I like the relocate to San Diego idea.

    • solles says:

      If Beckham buys this team, it wont stay in LA, can’t see Beckham owning an LA team other than the Galaxy. If it’s not Beckham, personallyt I dont see why it needs to move out of LA at all, rebrand absolutely, but no move. CD Los Angeles.

    • bottlcaps says:

      If the Vergeras sells off all his Chivas holdings to Slim, I wonder what is the value of Chivas USA. Considering he bought in at around 25M, he is probably going to value it at 50+M as it’s in an LA market. He has operated the team at a loss for the last 10 years, so he’s not walking away from it with a lot of quatloos. Slim turns around and sell it back to the MLS or a third party (not Beckham) who relocate it to another location. He will sell out at above the 50M he bought it at and shows why he is so rich.

      The only real losers in this scenario are the Latino fans who were promised a “Mexican-style: club, playing an attractive style of football.

      Chivas never had a real home, never had a real DP, and never had a solid following, or even a winning record and in the MLS, it never had a chance.

      LA and So. Cal can easily support another club and there are people in LA and So. Cal who would bid on it if it were to be “auctioned off” so to speak. But I think it will be destined to be sold to Orlando or another city in the South.

  8. Chupacabra says:

    His name sounds like a character from an Elmore Leonard novel.

    He once bought every possible number combination in a Powerball drawing because he hates losing.

    His DNA exists on every peso in Mexico.

    He is Carlos Slim, the richest man in the world.

    “I don’t always buy crappy futbol teams, but when I do, I prefer Chivas.”

  9. jonk says:

    This press release is super bizarre because it only addressed the rumors that MLS was going to take action regarding Chivas…which was the rumor a week or two ago and has nothing to do with the possibility of someone else buying Chivas.

  10. chuck says:

    The Mexican press pieces tell another story. Apparently there were negotiations but Vergara (more like Mrs. Vergara, she’s the one calling the shots now) wanted Slim to pay 800 million for the whole package.

    300 for the Mexican club, 300 for its stadium and 200 for Chivas USA.

    The reports (from record, mediotiempo and others) always mentioned that Slim did not want Chivas USA. Because of the silly price and moreso cause his intention was to become strong enough in the Mexican FA to make the clubs renegotiate television contracts, which is the market he is trying to get into.

    So apparently the Vergaras didn’t give in.

  11. Gnarls says:

    Chivas is terrible club, but I’d hate to see LA lose its second club. Rather than the franchise leaving the area, I hope its just rebranded and relocated to anywhere other than the HDC – but still in SoCal.

  12. Silversurfer says:

    I have typed and deleted my comment for a fourth time out of deference to my deceased mother who hammered home the rule that you don’t say anything if you have nothing nice to say about someone. So, here’s to hoping that Chivas is able to off load this team to an ownership group that will run this team properly. Preferably relocate to San Diego (there were rumors of a stadium site in Escondido )

    • Gnarls says:

      I don’t know how likely a move to SD is, but Escondido is a terrible place for a San Diego team. That’d be like building the Home Depot Center in Riverside or Thousand Oaks. Too far from the main population center.

      • Betamale says:

        As someone who lives in escondido it would be great for me but not the ideal location. Mission valley is the optimal spot. Now where to find open space….

        • D-Real says:

          I think the more likely solution would be somewhere in Otay near the Olympic Training Center, which I also don’t think would fly with MLS because they want stadiums built in areas near population centers.
          It wouldn’t surprise me in the least bit to see the Chargers try to work out a deal where a potential MLS ownership group would pitch money towards a new multi-purpose stadium downtown; Some of their biggest hurdles for a new stadium seem to have revolved around public funding, so if the new ownership group would pitch an extra 50-100 MM it might ease city council’s fears, particularly with the possibility of bringing in another marquee sport.

          • Rusty Shackleford says:

            Just my 2 cents,

            If the Charger owners are smart I would jump on your idea just to sweeten the pot a bit for the city. Like the way Seattle build their NFL stadium, dual purpose.

            The stadium could be use by SDSU, regional high schools and the likes. I would oppose building it downtown San Diego, PETCO is enough.

            I don’t buy the environmental excuse not building next to Jack Murphy stadium. It’s perfect spot it already have “infrastructure” surrounding it.

            • D-Real says:

              I agree that Mission Valley is ideal, but it seems like the city has been dead-set on trying to sell off that land if/when the stadium is obsolete. They’ve really been working on the land to the south of Petco, but I can’t see the people running the port giving up land for this purpose.
              A move like this could be the bit that pushes the idea over the edge for the city; I hope it happens one day, but I’m not holding my breath.

  13. dan says:

    Becks owning another team, especially if they stay in LA, will just be weird for us Galaxy supporters

  14. Dog says:

    Becks won’t own LA2, he may buy it, but he would need to move to florida. Miami or Orlando or tampa bay being obvious destinations.

  15. Chivas should move to San Diego.

  16. zack says:

    CD Los Angeles. Downtown stadium. Black & silver colors. Skull & crossbones in the crest. Be the Anti-Hollywood club.

    • Good Jeremy says:

      And Al Davis could buy them and they could play at USC’s stadium and their star player could get acquitted for first-degree murder but then serve an excessive sentence for stealing his own memorabilia. That would be awesome.

  17. Scott e Dio93 says:

    San Diego is bad for MLS, just because San Diego top 10 city in U.S., doesn’t mean would be for MLS. USNT always done poorly there for fan support.

    • D-Real says:

      Basing your opinion of San Diego’s fan support on the limited amount of US games played here is pretty short-sighted.
      1) Not every MLS fan is American
      2) San Diego has O’Brien’s (US Soccer’s #1 supporters bar last year)
      3) The Sockers are the winningest indoor team of all time, won 48 straight games this year, and regularly sold out the seats in the sports arena they were allowed to sell (bottom bowl, 4700). You may not care about indoor soccer, but the Sockers re-launch, ownership, and success has seen the league almost triple in size over the last four years.
      4) A San Diego MLS franchise would play on the natural geographical rivalry that exists between L.A. and San Diego, and also creates a natural border rivalry with Xolos.

      If you’ve ever seen the border corssings at Chula and San Ysidro the nights the Xolos play, you’d know exactly how many fans MLS was missing out on by not being in San Diego.

      Not at all calling anyone out here, I love my city and I’d be the first person in line for season tickets if they moved a franchise here. I think this is the only semi-realistic possibility for it to happen, and I think they should’ve been down here from the jump. I also think that Atlanta, Orlando, and St. Louis need teams… I don’t see the league moving a west coast based team all the way across the country, but who knows… it worked with Houston.

    • Carl says:

      You don’t know what you’re talking about. GTFO!

  18. Wild Draw Four says:

    Besides Orlando, is there any other lower-division team that has deep pockets, good fan support and promotion ambitions? I would love for the Rochester Rhinos to get a MLS franchise, but I know that is a long shot.

    • Shawn G says:

      Could go to Minneapolis once the new stadium is built. Indoors with a grass field, Zygi is an owner who wants at least part ownership in an MLS team, and cross-branding with the Vikings like exists with the Sounders/Seahawks.

      But I think it’s more likely they move to San Diego or Orlando, at this point. I don’t see them staying in LA if they sell.

    • Philly B says:

      I thought the Rhinos were approached a few years ago about joining the league, but declined. I might be wrong about that, but I feel like I heard it somewhere…

      • Shawn G says:

        I think that might have been while MLS was on the ropes, TBH. I’ve thought Rochester would be a good addition for a while. Far better than a 2nd NYC team.

  19. McQ says:

    Slim buys Chivas and moves them to San Diego. It is close enough to keep the rivalry with the Galaxy but rather than embrace the “Hispanic only” policy, embrace the Mexican American heritage angle but play up the melting pot philosphy as well – why would you want to alienate the white people (for lack of a better description) in San Diego? Wasn’t this the policy of the previous owner?

    Then Becks buys into at least in part to NY2/NYFC in Flushing, he brings in Ryan Giggs to coach and you have got instant star power in your new franchise to kick start fan interest. Now you have two Derby rivalries on both coasts in your two largest markets.

    • D-Real says:

      Becks’ contractual ability to buy into ownership specifically omits NYC2 from what I hear. I think it’d be more likely that he rallies together a group of investors and buys Chivas USA and rebrands it. Slim doesn’t want anything to do with Chivas USA (Vergara overstates the value of that franchise, I think), he only wants CD Guadalajara and their stadium.
      Sorry to the loyal Chivas USA fans in L.A., but the franchise appears toxic to the rest of the league. I don’t see any way for MLS to save face other than a rebrand at the very least, and more than likely a move to a fresh market. Not sure if I’m the only one, but I think the league is so spread-out across the continent, that there’s no excuse for two teams to be playing out of the same stadium, and L.A. certainly doesn’t look like it’s going to build another soccer specific stadium.

  20. Footy76 says:

    I feel bad for Chivas USA supporter but if MLS seize control of Chivas USA this is a great opportunity they can’t pass up to move them to a city on their expansion list. By moving Chivas USA to a city on their expansion list it keeps the option for the other cities on that list open and gives more cities a chance to get on that list. I like San Diego or San Antonio they would be a nice add-on to the MLS. May be Spurs Sports and Entertainment (SSE) could buy Chivas USA even though they holds the rights to a USL Pro team in San Antonio. I also think San Francisco would be nice since there are moving the forty niners to San Jose. Just look what losing the Sonics did for the Sounders not saying it was the main reason for their success but it did’nt hurt.

  21. Stephen says:

    It would surprise me after the end of the current season to someone like Stan Kroenke to step in and move the club to St. Louis. After all his business group LHM has a major redevelopment project under going on the site of Union Station in downtown St. Louis, which includes plans for a MLS soccer specific stadium. He could easily give over to control of the Colorado Rapids to his son.