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Guy Fieri reportedly part of revamped Sacramento Republic MLS bid

Word drops about potential star-studded investor group.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon - Season 7 Photo by: Andrew Lipovsky/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images

It’s no secret that Sacramento Republic are looking for new ownership investors, following the abrupt exit of Ron Burkle from the club’s MLS expansion project a few months back. But could some local and national celebrities be involved in a revived ownership recruitment project?

The latest comes from an unlikely source on Tuesday, former cable news host Greta Van Susteren, who tweeted several messages about an expanding investor group for Sac Republic.

There’s been a lot of former Fox News colleagues over the years, so eventually she spilled the beans. But the names mentioned go well beyond a former Fox News colleague.

Let’s break down the names listed here, briefly:

  • Guy Fieri: TV presenter, restauranteur, man who’s done a hell of a lot to support restaurant and bar workers during the pandemic with those industries hard hit the past year. Appears to live in Northern California
  • Tamera Mowry Housley: If you know the show “Sister, Sister” from the ‘90s, she’s Tamera. Still an actress and TV personality these days, she also lives in Northern California
  • Adam Housley: Married to Tamera, he’s Van Susteren’s former Fox News colleague. He is also apparently involved in his family’s winery business, and obviously also lives in Northern California
  • E-40: Old-school rapper, he’s got deep roots to the Bay Area and hey, what do you know, has been on an episode of Fieri’s trademark show, “Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.” He currently lives in Northern California as well.
  • Festus Ezeli: The former Golden State Warriors center spent his late youth in Yuba City and his parents appear to live in Sacramento.
  • Urijah Faber: The MMA fighter is a Sacramento native and was first announced as a Sacramento Republic investor way back in 2014.
  • Derrek Lee: Presumably a misspelling in Van Susteren’s tweet, Derrek Lee is a former MLB pro and was born and raised in Sacramento, maintaining deep roots in the city. He’s been publicly linked as an investor to Sac Republic since 2019.
  • Vernon Wells: Another former MLB player, Wells has a reported financial stake in a California winery.
  • Torii Hunter: Yet another former MLB player, Hunter was a pretty big star in his day and spent a good chunk of his career playing for the Los Angeles Angels.
  • Arik Armstead: The San Francisco 49ers defensive end is a Sacramento native and his ties to the city are well-known.

So, is this legit? Is @Greta the source we all need for Sacramento Republic MLS news?

Time will tell on that front. Asked on Wednesday about the report, Republic FC lead owner Kevin Nagle said he “can’t deny” the celebrity interest. However, the club did not make a formal announcement regarding the celebrity group, instead announcing the new name of their stadium, Heart Health Park.

It’s probably also worth mentioning the likelihood that Sacramento Republic are still seeking a big investor or investors to revive their MLS bid. In situations like this elsewhere, such as LAFC, there are some very famous owners and some not-so-famous owners in that group, but the famous owners do not control the daily decision-making and their stakes do not appear to be particularly large individually. It seems like this group falls along the same lines, people who genuinely want to invest, but likely not the collective of people who can or will be willing to pony up somewhere in the neighborhood of $400 million to see Sacramento get to MLS.

Still, having interest or even plans in the works remains a good thing, all things considered. Now, will Sacramento Republic get a Flavortown kiosk at their Railyards stadium for MLS games in a few years? Stay tuned on that front, and we’ll have any new info we can find if there are developments.

What do you think? Leave a comment below.