San Diego investors closing in on $500m MLS franchise

May 10 – San Diego is expected to be the next city to be awarded an MLS franchise with local media reporting that the announcement could be made this month with an expansion fee of $500 million.

San Diego would be the 30th MLS club licensed with the $500 million fee, beating the MLS record of $325 million reportedly paid by Charlotte in 2019 for their franchise.

The investment group that would be awarded the franchise is headed by Egyptian billionaire Mohamed Mansour with the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation, a Native American tribe, investors in the bid.

If awarded the franchise, the team would begin play in the 2025 season at San Diego State University’s 30-000 capacity Snapdragon Stadium, which is also home to the NWSL’s San Diego Wave.

San Diego State Athletic Director John David Wicker told the San Diego Union-Tribune that the two sides are “closer than we have been” to a lease agreement for the stadium.

“We’ve been having very good discussions,” Wicker said. “Based on the soccer we’re having this summer, it shows that this venue is truly built for great soccer, and getting MLS is the last real piece of the puzzle.

“We’re excited to get to the finish line.”

The Snapdragon Stadium is hosting two major national team events this summer with a Mexico friendly, a warm-up for the Nations League finals and Gold Cup that start later in June, as well as one of the semi-finals for the Concacaf Gold Cup, the blue riband event for national teams in the region.

The stadium will also five San Diego Wave games as well as a Manchester United vs Wrexham friendly.

Mansour is chairman of the Mansour Group, an Egyptian conglomerate valued at $6 billion that distributes internationally for brands such as McDonald’s, Chevrolet, Red Bull, and UPS.

The Mansour Group is not new to football having acquired a majority stake in Right To Dream, the company behind Danish top flight club FC Nordsjaelland, in January 2021 and which focuses on academy player development with academies in Ghana and more recently Egypt.

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