MLS Inks $500 Million Deal for San Diego Expansion
MLS has reached a $500 million agreement with billionaire Mohamed Mansour and the Sycuan Band of the Kumeyaay Nation to bring an expansion team to San Diego, according to someone familiar with the details.
The new club will begin play in 2025, said the person, who was granted anonymity because the details are private. An announcement is planned for later this week. The deal comes after multiple years of discussions about where to add MLS’s 30th franchise, with previously prioritized bids in both Sacramento (led by Ron Burkle) and Las Vegas (led by Wes Edens) failing to reached an agreement.
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A representative for MLS declined to comment. Representatives for Mansour and the Sycuan Band didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment.
The $500 million expansion fee is an MLS record, significantly higher than the $325 million that David Tepper paid to bring an expansion team to Charlotte in 2019. In 2007, Toronto FC paid $10 million in to join the league.
The average MLS club is now worth $582 million, according to Sportico’s calculations, driven by the sport’s growing popularity, anticipation about the 2026 men’s World Cup in North America, and the league’s lack of promotion/relegation, which gives owners financial security that is rare in Europe’s largest leagues. Although it’s not considered one of the world’s 10 best leagues on the field, MLS has 18 of the world’s 50 most valuable franchises—the next closest league is the English Premier League with nine.
Mansour, who has both Egyptian and U.K. citizenship, is worth $3.6 billion, according to Forbes. He oversees the Mansour Group, a family business that operates in automotive, industrial equipment, capital markets, and technology, and is founder/chairman of Man Capital, a London-based firm. Mansour was a minister under former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, and was recently named the senior treasurer of the UK’s Conservative Party.
Sycuan Reservation is located about 20 miles outside San Diego. The reservation is governed by a seven-member elected Sycuan Business Committee.
The team will play in the 35,000-seat Snapdragon Stadium, home of the San Diego State University football team, the NWSL’s San Diego Wave, and rugby’s San Diego Legion. The $310 million stadium opened last year.
The deal was first reported by the Sunday Times.
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