De La Hoya secures Dynamo deal

HOUSTON (TICKER) —Boxing icon Oscar De La Hoya formally bought a substantial share of the Houston Dynamo on Friday.

De La Hoya has bought a 25 percent share of the franchise, with his business parter Gabriel Brener purchasing an identical share.

The Anschutz Entertainment Group will retain the remaining 50 percent stake, working alongside De La Hoya and Brener in operating the club.

The financial terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but it is thought to value the Dynamo at between $40 million and $50 million.

“Having Oscar and Gabriel as our partners in Houston is the right alliance in the right market at the right time,” AEG president Tim Leiweke said. “With Gabriel and his family’s strong ties and commitment to Houston, our organization will have an even more significant, positive impact and influence within the community.”

The Dynamo hope to be able to tap into De La Hoya’s business success with his Golden Boy Promotions company, as well as using his huge popularity in the Hispanic community to boost interest in the club.

“I’m a huge soccer fan and have been very impressed with the progress MLS and especially the Houston Dynamo have made in recent years,” said De La Hoya, a former Olympic and world champion at five different weight classes.

“I also appreciate how much soccer, like boxing, appeals to the Hispanic community. I’m very excited to be part of such a top notch organization.”

AEG, which once owned six MLS clubs, has scaled back its operations hugely after agreeing with the league to adopt a single-entity ownership model in the league. AEG now plans to focus its attention more and more on the Los Angeles Galaxy, the only franchise it now owns in full.

However, AEG will remain heavily involved with the Dynamo and will continue to lead efforts to secure a new soccer-specific stadium in downtown Houston.

The Dynamo has now won two consecutive MLS Cup titles, beating the New England Revolution in the final both times.

The franchise, formally the San Jose Earthquakes, moved to Houston at the start of the 2006 season but did not retain the records of the old Earthquakes franchise, which won titles in 2001 and 2003.

The Earthquakes return to MLS this coming season as an expansion franchise.

Updated Friday, Feb 29, 2008