Jul 30, 2013, 6:36 PM EST
KANSAS CITY – Hunt Sports Group has seemed on the verge of selling Columbus for years, never in a particular hurry, but apparently willing to entertain the right offer.
So while Tuesday’s big news was a surprise in its timing (happening with so little warning), the announced ownership handoff from HSG to San Francisco businessman J. Anthony Precourt was not wholly surprising in the bigger picture.
It is certainly historic in the bigger picture. Here’s why:
For the first time in league history, Hunt Sports Group presides over just one MLS club, as the ownership diversification – such an important initiative for MLS commissioner Don Garber just a few years ago – is nearly complete.
The Hunt family originally owned Kansas City and Columbus at league launch in 1996. Later, HSG also gained control of Dallas. For the 2004 season the Hunts controlled 30 percent of Major League Soccer’s club.
Back then, essentially, only the Hunts and billionaire Phil Anschutz stood between the league and total financial collapse. Clearly, that’s not the kind of stable footing an operation with strong survival instincts wants.
So Garber worked hard to create that critical ownership diversity. Gradually over the last decade, Major League Soccer has gone from five owners to about 19, depending on how you count Houston Dynamo minority owner Oscar de la Hoya.
For the first time in league history, Hunt Sports Group is down to one team, which is FC Dallas.
I ran into Clark Hunt today at the MLS hotel in Kansas City, offering congratulations over the sell – and then immediately wondering about the appropriateness of such a thing. We had a quick laugh about it, but Hunt told me there were definitely some mixed feelings about it all.
Mar 8, 2014, 10:18 PM EST
They finished last year at opposite ends of the East. On Saturday, D.C. and New York both stumbled in their 2014 openers.
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Mar 8, 2014, 8:45 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 7:33 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 6:20 PM EST
On his fifth team in five years, Barrett delivered Saturday for Seattle.
Mar 8, 2014, 5:33 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 4:21 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 3:59 PM EST
Four decades of soccer in the Pacific Northwest were celebrated at CenturyLink Field.
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Mar 8, 2014, 2:40 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 2:35 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 2:27 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 1:45 PM EST
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Mar 8, 2014, 1:22 PM EST
American forward Johannsson does it again, scores beauty to put AZ ahead:
Mar 8, 2014, 1:01 PM EST
The Fulham manager is convinced that his side can avoid the drop. But is that sort of optimism misplaced?
Mar 8, 2014, 12:10 PM EST
Other sides fighting the drop will be thrilled that Stoke and Norwich split the points available at Carrow Road.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:05 PM EST
Massive London derby at the Bridge, can Chelsea extend their lead at the top? Watch live, here:
Mar 8, 2014, 12:04 PM EST
Fulham remain dead last in the league after losing to fellow strugglers Cardiff – who themselves aren’t yet out of the woods.
Mar 8, 2014, 12:03 PM EST
Saints seal hard-fought win, as Eagles continue to battle at the wrong end of the table:
Mar 8, 2014, 11:32 AM EST
Moyes’ offense clicks as United turn on the style against the Baggies:
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