NBA All-Stars Join Now-Approved U.S. Investment in Mexican Soccer

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The Mexican Football Federation has approved the sale of roughly 50% of Liga MX’s Club Necaxa to a group led by real estate investor Al Tylis and D.C. United executive Sam Porter.

The deal, which Sportico first reported last month, values the club in the low nine-figures. It is the first major investment by Americans into Mexico’s top soccer league. The governing body’s approval was unanimous, Porter said Monday in an interview.

Three NBA players—Miami Heat guard Victor Oladipo and retired All-Stars Richard Hamilton and Shawn Marion—have also joined the group as minority investors, according to Porter. Previously reported limited partners include Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria, German soccer star Mesut Ozil, model Kate Upton and her husband, MLB pitcher Justin Verlander.

Necaxa is currently owned by the Tinajero family. The team said in a statement last month that it was close to a “historic strategic investment,” and that the team wouldn’t be changing its name, its location or colors.

Led by clubs like Chivas and Club America, the 18-team Liga MX is extremely popular among the nearly 40 million Mexican-Americans living in the U.S., and structural changes are making the league more attractive to investors. Those include the temporary suspension of relegation to lower leagues, a higher commitment to financial transparency, increased cooperation with MLS, and optimism around the possibility of selling the league’s commercial rights as a group. Its games also draw significantly larger television audiences in the U.S. than MLS or the English Premier League.

Tylis, a former CEO of NorthStar Asset Management, is an investor across a number of sports and entertainment properties, including soccer clubs D.C. United and Swansea City in the U.K. (which share an ownership group), and gaming entities G2 Esports and Epic Games. Porter is chief strategy officer for D.C. United and is on the Swansea City board.

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