FC Cincinnati gains new minority owners, $100m investment boost

Meg Whitman (Credit: Getty Images)

Major League Soccer team FC Cincinnati has succeeded in its aims to gain new equity investment to help fund its construction plans, which are an approximate $285m for a new stadium and training ground.

Former Hewlett Packard chief executive Meg Whitman, the billionaire CEO of short-form mobile video platform Quibi, and husband Dr. Griff Harsh have secured an approximate 20 percent stake in FC Cincinnati, in a deal which values the team at $500m. The reported $100m purchase has been approved by MLS.

FC Cincinnati is majority-owned by American Financial Group co-CEO Carl Lindner III. As part of the deal, Whitman will join MLS’s Board of Governors where she will serve as FC Cincinnati’s alternate governor to Lindner.

The process to seek new investment in order to help pay for new infrastructure costs, as well as player salaries, began in December 2018, with the help of Raine Group. The team, which currently plays at Nippert Stadium, has begun building a $250m, 25,000-26,000 seater stadium in the West End neighborhood of Cincinnati, which is scheduled to be completed in March 2021. Earlier this month, the team opened the $35m Mercy Health Training Center.

“FC Cincinnati and soccer have both already proven to be cultural forces in the market. Between the crowds at Nippert Stadium and the corporate commitments it has drawn, it’s a team with an exceptionally high ceiling,” Whitman said in a statement.

In 2017, Whitman was part of a group looking to bring an MLS team to Sacramento, California, but she left the bid. Sacramento has since been admitted to MLS under new leadership.

Read this: Kings of Queen City | FC Cincinnati president on the club’s preparations for MLS