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I Once Caught a Fish *This* Big

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Sacramento Republic’s new lead investor is a sizable catch, but is it enough to get MLS onboard?

Photo courtesy of Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Sacramento Republic FC have announced, after some speculation by us here at ICS that billionaire venture capitalist Ron Burkle will take controlling interest in the team.

In earlier back and forth statements from the league and club, it seemed the biggest hurdle for Republic to clear on their way to joining the big show has been lack of investment.

Previous owner/lead investor Kevin Nagle is a near pennyless $900 millionaire, and the Sacramento region’s only fortune 500 employer is Chando’s Tacos. The lack of obscene, Gatsby style wealth is no longer an issue for the club and hopefully for Don Garber and company.

Sacramento Republic's bid to MLS is one hundred percent privately funded, including a new soccer specific stadium downtown. In an era of dwindling city finances and unfunded pension liabilities that should be a huge deal for any responsible bid. With five years of successful play on the field, a passionate fanbase, and now a heap of cash behind them, the Republic is surely next in line for the 28th MLS franchise spot.

Or is it? As noted the process for joining MLS is completely opaque. There are no “boxes to check” despite what more optimistic folks might say. Expansion is decided upon by a group of owners and executives who’s motives and desires for the league essentially exist in a black box. Other than “make money” no one knows, and even that might not be high up the list?

Given the way this league operates, I would urge caution with your excitement. Until Don comes to the 916 and says that the Republic have announced former player and unofficial mayor of Sacramento Rodrigo Lopez as their first signing for the 2022 MLS season, I won’t believe it.