SACRAMENTO, Calif. — Sacramento's everlasting push for a Major League Soccer team is heating up again following the team's announcement that it has a new billionaire lead investor.
After getting beat out for an MLS expansion bid by Cincinnati in 2018 and Nashville in 2017 because ownership didn't have the bankroll, the team's future now rests in the hands of Ron Burkle, a billionaire investor and part owner of the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins.
"Mr. Burkle is an exceptional leader and businessman, a champion sports owner, a dedicated philanthropist, and someone with a deep appreciation for Sacramento," SRFC CEO Kevin Nagle said in a statement. "He is the ideal person to lead the next chapter of our club."
According to Mayor Darrell Steinberg, Burkle will also buy the Railyards stadium site and the 14 acres surrounding it to build an "entertainment district."
In a statement, Steinberg stressed that there would not be any public financing for the SRFC and Railyards project.
"The City will not write a check, and it will not bear any liability or risk," Steinberg said.
This isn't Burkle's first attempt at having sports ownership in Sacramento. You may remember his name from his offer to buy the Sacramento Kings from the Maloof brothers in an attempt to keep the team from moving.
So who is Ron Burkle?
Burkle is a billionaire investor who has earned most of his fortune by purchasing failing companies and merging them with bigger, more successful companies. (Think Fred Meyer or Ralph's groceries merging with Kroger.)
The 66-year-old financier and son of a grocery store manager was born in Pomona, Calf. and went to Cal Poly Pomona for two years before dropping out.
He worked for his dad's grocery store for years before failing to buyout the store and getting fired for doing so. That's when his thirst for investment grew, according to a 2006 Forbes profile. After a some sound investments and mergers of small grocery stores, his ownership and personal fortune grew.
Over the years, Burkle has made a name in political circles as a prominent fundraiser, having put efforts in overturning California's ban on same-sex marriage, fundraising for former President Bill Clinton and Hillary Clinton, and other top Democrats.
Today, Burkle is worth north of $2 billion, according to a Forbes.
Editor's note: This story has been updated to reflect the correct dates Cincinnati and Nashville were awarded MLS bids.
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