To the Sacramento Republic FC Family,
First, I want to thank you for your commitment, loyalty and patience over the past few weeks. I understand why emotions are running high and am right there with you.
Second, we fully respect and honor the MLS expansion process and timeline. We understand the importance of this decision to the league and their desire to take the time to get it right.
Third, I want to take a quick moment and thank our Mayor Darrell Steinberg for being such a champion and advocate for Republic FC and the MLS bid.
With that said, I’m writing to update you on our progress and path ahead:
As most of you know, yesterday MLS announced Nashville as the first of two expansion cities that MLS will select in this round. On behalf of Republic FC, I congratulate lead investor John Ingram, Mayor Megan Barry, and the people of Nashville for a successful bid.
Fortunately, MLS has also made clear that Sacramento is still in the running for the second expansion slot. Earlier today, the league announced plans to continue to work with Sacramento and the other two remaining finalists before deciding on the second expansion team.
I know that for many of you, this will feel like yet another extension in an already extended process. But as we often see on the pitch, sometimes a hard fought match doesn’t get decided until extra time.
In that spirit, we plan to take this as an opportunity to strengthen our bid. In nearly every aspect of our bid, we’ve delivered. We’ve proven our market, started construction on a visionary stadium, and assembled a committed ownership group offering deep sports expertise and local roots.
But one area remains open to improvement: the strength of our funding plan. Towards the latter stages of the expansion process, we recognized the need to bolster our overall capital structure. This challenge primarily emerged as a result of how much the financial picture of our MLS bid has changed. Since our investor group originally formed in 2014, the combined costs of the MLS expansion fee and our world-class downtown stadium plan have risen by nearly $150 million. While these are typical challenges in business, sports, and MLS, the evolving bid costs have required us to revisit and rethink how we will fund the bid.
While we’ve made tremendous strides, the plan we presented to the MLS Expansion Committee a few weeks back raised fair and reasonable questions about the need for additional financial capacity. Both then to MLS, and now to you, we have pledged to do whatever it takes to address and resolve these questions.
Moving forward, we will execute a three-part plan:
1. New Major Investor.
The most impactful path to victory will entail adding another major investor or investors to our group who have a passion for MLS, bring additional financial wherewithal to the group, and will protect the spirit, culture and values of Republic FC. I will continue to drive our progress as lead investor and am proud of the nearly $30 million that I have personally invested to place Sacramento on the cusp of getting an MLS team. But I am willing to be open and flexible in order to attract the right partners and do what’s best for Republic FC and the MLS bid.
2. Additional Limited Partners.
Our local ownership group has been absolutely tremendous in going above and beyond to help this bid – but always from a supporting capacity. We will continue to expand and fortify this group by recruiting additional investors who can bring additional capacity and capabilities to our team. There will always be room in our group for folks who love soccer, love Sacramento, and love the Republic.
3. Mobilize Community Support.
Lastly, we wouldn’t be Sacramento if we didn’t enroll our entire community in this effort. Working closely with Mayor Steinberg and others, we will identify pathways for our fans, corporate partners, and community at large to help us reach this final objective in our bid.
No question, this will be a tall task. And we will need to move quickly to remain competitive for the next expansion slot. But if ever there was a community that can dig deep and persevere, it’s Sacramento. Our paths to victory are rarely straight. We’re no strangers to adversity. We’re used to beating the odds and proving skeptics wrong. We’ve been here before. This journey, long as it may be, will prove once again why we are truly indomitable.
I’ll close on a positive note. We are so close to our goal. Our bid fundamentals remain extremely strong. We know exactly what we need to do. And Commissioner Garber remains confident that Sacramento is MLS ready.
I know you all have more questions. And you deserve answers as we press ahead. Wherever our path takes us next, I promise to do right by you and by Sacramento.
It’s a privilege to lead this effort. I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Glory Glory Sacramento!
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