Who owns every MLS club? David Beckham, Matthew McConaughey & everything you need to know about star-studded investors
What do David Beckham, Matthew McConaughey and Ciara have in common? Aside from superfans around the world and bank accounts with far more digits than the average person, the celebrities are also MLS investors.
There's a growing number of celebrities putting their money behind the league, an indication that it is in a far healthier place than it once was.
GOAL takes a look at who owns every MLS club below.
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One of the biggest commercial success stories of MLS expansion, Atlanta United have routinely led in attendance as co-inhabitants of Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Their principal owner is Arthur Blank, who co-founded Home Depot and also owns the NFL's Atlanta Falcons.
Primary owner: Arthur Blank
Austin FC were initially set to be villains as MLS planned to relocate the regionally beloved Columbus Crew to Texas, however an agreement was reached to keep the Crew in Ohio and create Austin FC as a separate expansion entity.
They are still in the early days of writing their MLS story, but the presence of actor Matthew McConaughey as a minority owner has raised their profile.
McConaughey goes to matches and is an active participant in the club from a marketing standpoint.
Primary owner: Two Oak Ventures
Celebrity investors: Matthew McConaughey
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Like Atlanta United, Charlotte FC's ownership model is all about carrying a stake in an entire sports ecosystem rather than a single team.
Charlotte FC's owner, David Tepper, also owns the Carolina Panthers, and the franchises currently play at the same venue (Bank of America Stadium).
Primary owner: David Tepper
The Chicago Fire have endured disastrous attendance figures and on-field play in recent times, having made the postseason just once over the past decade while struggling to get approval to build a stadium of their own.
So, Joe Mansueto still has a big job ahead of him after acquiring a majority stake in the Fire in 2018. The founder of financial services company Morningstar will continue to push for a better home than the aging Soldier Field, shared with the NFL's Chicago Bears, by either getting approval for a new venue (a path so far unsuccessful) or by renovating Soldier Field if the Bears move out.
Primary owner: Joe Mansueto
A beautiful part of MLS' expansion is the way communities between the coasts have bloomed as genuine hubs of soccer passion, and Cincinnati's embrace of its new club is a shining example.
In the sleek TQL Stadium where attendance is strong, FC Cincinnati have the foundation for success under businessman Carl Henry Linder III.
Primary owner: Carl Henry Lindner III
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Arsenal fans will be familiar with Stan Kroenke's holding company Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, which owns the Gunners and the Colorado Rapids along with numerous other professional sports teams around the world.
His management style in the United States over the years made his involvement in the failed Super League unsurprising, and his holding company has work to do to get Denver fully behind the Rapids again.
Primary owner: Stan Kroenke (Kroenke Sports & Entertainment)
A "Save the Crew" movement to keep soccer in Columbus found its savior in 2018 when the Haslam family led an ownership group to purchase the club. Dee and Jimmy Haslam also own the Cleveland Browns.
Since they purchased the team alongside JW and Whitney Johnson, and Pete Edwards, the Crew have opened soccer-specific Lower.com Field.
Primary owner: Dee and Jimmy Haslam
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D.C. United Holdings, a consortium of individual investors, leads D.C. United. Co-chairmen Jason Levien and Steve Kaplan also run Swansea City.
Recently, the club has brought star power to Audi Field in the form of Wayne Rooney as a player and then head coach, and celebrity investors Yo Gotti and Mark Ingram III.
Primary owner: D.C. United Holdings
Celebrity investors: Yo Gotti, Mark Ingram III
The Hunt family may be best known in the United States for their leadership of the NFL's Kansas City Chiefs, but their stable ownership of FC Dallas should not go unnoticed.
In particular, Dallas' development of attacking players in recent years points to an organization with a vision for the future.
Primary owner: Clark Hunt (Hunt Sports Group)
Dynamo fans will hope Ted Segal's recent buyout of other owners means a change in approach to a franchise that has underwhelmed on the field despite fan support.
Famous athlete-investors James Harden and Oscar de la Hoya stayed on board through the change of majority ownership.
Primary owner: Ted Segal
Celebrity investors: James Harden and Oscar de la Hoya
Formerly owned by the current FC Dallas owners, Sporting KC is now part of a portfolio held by local businesspeople that also includes Sporting KC II and Women's Sporting KC.
NFL star Patrick Mahomes recently bought a stake in the team.
Primary owner: Sporting Club
Celebrity investors: Patrick Mahomes
The LA Galaxy are owned by Anschutz Entertainment Group – created by Philip Anschutz. Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns stakes in the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.
For many casual soccer fans, the club will forever be linked with David Beckham after his five-year spell with the club between 2007-2012 - even as Beckham now is a part-owner of Inter Miami - and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Primary owner: Anschutz Entertainment Group
- Gary A. Vasquez
LAFC's ownership group is about as star-studded (and vast) as they come with a number of A-listers involved.
There are 29 owners listed on LAFC's official website, with Brandon Beck, Larry Berg, and Bennett Rosenthal rotating the role of lead managing owner.
Primary owner: Brandon Beck, Larry Berg, and Bennett Rosenthal
Celebrity investors: Will Ferrell, Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm-Garciaparra and Nomar Garciaparra
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While he may have arrived in America as a LA Galaxy player, in retirement David Beckham has helped establish Inter Miami as an MLS side with Jorge and Jose Mas.
His former Manchester United teammate Phil Neville is currently the club's manager, too, and Lionel Messi has been a long-reported transfer target.
Primary owner: David Beckham, Jorge Mas and Jose Mas
Celebrity investors: David Beckham
Minnesota United played their inaugural MLS match in 2017 and have made the playoffs in every season apart from their first.
An exact breakdown of ownership stakes has been hard to come by, however majority stakeholder Bill McGuire is joined in a significant capacity by Jim Pohlad and Glen Taylor.
Primary owner: Bill McGuire
CF Montreal are owned by the Saputo family, who are also part of an ownership consortium for the Serie A team Bologna and the Canada-based dairy company Saputo Inc.
There have been clashes with the fan base in recent years and it was reported in 2021 that he threatened to sell the team to American investors - though CF Montreal released a statement afterwards emphasizing their commitment to the region.
Primary owner: Saputo family
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Nashville SC are one of the newcomers of MLS, starting in 2020 and already making their mark as a strong playoff contender.
Owner John Ingram is joined by celebrity investors Derrick Henry (NFL) and Reese Witherspoon (actress), who hold small stakes in the club, and most recently, Giannis Antetokounmpo (NBA) and Filip Forsberg (NHL).
Primary owner: John Ingram
Celebrity investors: Derrick Henry, Reese Witherspoon, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Filip Forsberg
New England Revolution
Robert Kraft is better known in the United States for his ownership of the NFL's New England Patriots, but he's also in charge of the New England Revolution.
The Revolution slumped out of the playoff race in 2022 after a dominant 2021 regular season in which they won the Eastern Conference by 19 points.
They play at Gillette Stadium where the Patriots also play and where Kraft has overseen significant commercial development.
Primary owner: Robert Kraft
New York Red Bulls
Men's soccer in New York is a showdown of worldwide conglomerates, with the New York Red Bulls having the financial might of energy drink producer Red Bull GmbH behind it.
Red Bull GmbH has teams around the world and is known as a leader in player development.
Primary owner: Red Bull GmbH
New York City FC will never be short of funds as part of the global City Football Group enterprise that also includes Manchester City in the Premier League.
As the club comes into its own, the potential for a greater edge in the transfer market working with City Football Group entities is boundless.
Yankee Global Enterprises, which owns MLB's New York Yankees, is also a major investor.
Primary owner: City Football Group
After having a financial hand in MLS expansion team Nashville SC, Mark Wilf, along with his brother Zygi and cousin Lenny, sold their stake in that club to become majority owners of Orlando City.
They might not have the celebrity pizzazz of Inter Miami, but they've guided Orlando to the playoffs the past three years and won the U.S. Open Cup in 2022.
Primary owner: Wilf family
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Real estate mogul Jay Sugarman is the majority owner of the Philadelphia Union, and his organizational approach to player development is paying off in a big way. The Union have become a model for helping youth players grow into first-team stalwarts - a key reason for their MLS Cup final appearance in 2022.
The Union also have the financial backing of NBA star Kevin Durant, who has built up an impressive investment portfolio of his own amid his professional basketball career.
Primary owner: Jay Sugarman
Celebrity investors: Kevin Durant
It's hard to find a better marriage between a club and its city than the Portland Timbers, who are almost always in the top 10 in MLS attendance despite having a much smaller market size than many rivals. Simply put, Portland loves the Timbers.
Unfortunately, the organization has been marred by scandal in recent years. Merritt Paulson gained majority ownership in 2007 but stepped down as CEO in 2022 over his handling of abuse allegations with the NWSL's Portland Thorns, which he also owns but is now looking to sell amid pressure from fans and ex-players. He has not indicated a plan to sell the Timbers.
Primary owner: Merritt Paulson
Real Salt Lake
Real Salt Lake were the subject of a 2020 investigation into a misogynistic, toxic work environment under the leadership of prior owner Dell Loy Hansen, who was also accused of making racist comments.
The subsequent sale of the club to David Blitzer and Ryan Smith has helped stabilize the organization off the pitch, and the team will try to build on a 2022 playoff appearance in 2023.
Primary owner: David Blitzer and Ryan Smith
San Jose Earthquakes
The San Jose Earthquakes are in a difficult moment, struggling on the field while supporters accuse majority owner John Fisher of not spending enough money to back the franchise. Fisher also owns MLB's nearby Oakland Athletics and faces similar allegations from those fans.
However, Fisher has explored a sale of stakes in the club and could theoretically be bought out in the future.
Primary owner: John Fisher
- Otto Greule Jr
Businessman and majority Seattle Sounders owner Adrian Hanauer is flanked by an array of celebrity investors, including Drew Carey, Ciara, Russell Wilson, Macklemore and Ken Griffey Jr. The estate of Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen's still holds a stake in the team as well.
The Sounders are one of MLS' success stories and routinely finish near the top of the attendance leaderboard.
Primary owner: Adrian Hanauer
Celebrity investors: Drew Carey, Ciara, Russell Wilson, Macklemore and Ken Griffey Jr.
St. Louis City SC
St. Louis City SC, the newest members of MLS, are the league's first majority female owned club with Carolyn Kindle leading the organization.
Read more about the history of the expansion team here.
Primary owner: Carolyn Kindle
Toronto FC are part of the extensive portfolio of sports teams held by Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment. The company also owns the NHL's Maple Leafs and the NBA's Raptors.
It has been a private company for the past decade after being public for more than 80 years beforehand.
Primary owner: Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment
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The Vancouver Whitecaps have former NBA star and Canadian icon Steve Nash in their corner.
Nash said he owns a "small percentage but a considerable investment" in the Whitecaps, who missed the playoffs by four points last season but hope to improve in the standings this year.
Primary owner: Greg Kerfoot, Jeff Mallett and Steve Luczo
Celebrity investors: Steve Nash