The news of Chivas USA being bought by MLS will reverberate for some time, but one of the benefits of having the deal done and publicly announced is that details are starting to trickle out regarding the sale and the league's interactions with the team prior to the sale.
Probably the biggest item in this realm is the purchase price this week. Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney had two key tweets Thursday regarding money:
Source says MLS paid $25 million for chivas USA, same figure it offered when Vergara bought out former partner Antonio Cue.— Ridge Mahoney (@ridgemax) February 20, 2014
According to source LA group offered Vergara $70 million last year for chivas USA and was turned down.— Ridge Mahoney (@ridgemax) February 20, 2014
That's some heavy stuff. If I'm reading it right, MLS offered to buy the club back in 2012, but was rebuffed by Vergara. Why didn't you save us from 15 months of misery right there?
The second tweet sounds pretty bad, if the first one is correct.
But not so fast. Kevin Baxter over at the LA Times reported Thursday that the purchase price was actually $70 million, a figure Brian Straus backed up over at SI.com Friday. However, the reporters differ on the amount Vergara and Angelica Fuentes paid to buy out their original co-owners, the Cue brothers. Baxter has that figure at $40 million, while Straus puts the number at $35 million.
Though more information could emerge, it's worth noting there is essentially zero chance the league will divulge any details publicly about the amount, so we won't get confirmation. Though $25 million and $70 million is quite a big difference, it looks like the larger amount is going to become the predominant figure.
However, considering the franchise was valued at $64 million by Forbes in their most recent valuations, by far the lowest in the league, if the $70 million figure is indeed true, it looks like the Vergaras got something decent out of the deal.
Besides the purchase price, what other details have emerged the past couple days?
Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera told Paul Kennedy at Soccer America that the team was aware of rumors that the team was going to be sold: "It wasn't a surprise."
In other news, it appears the league had been behind the scenes working with Chivas for some time. I had heard that MLS headquarters had ramped up involvement in the team this offseason in light of the absolute disaster that was 2013, assisting them in making perhaps not horrible trades like they nearly always did last season (only the Eric Avila-for-Nick LaBrocca swap can be deemed a success on Chivas' end from that slew of trades last year).
Washington D.C.-based writer Charles Boehm tweeted out the following Thursday:
I have been told that league officials have been making management decisions at CUSA for two years or so, maybe longer.— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) February 20, 2014
To be clear: I got no specific explanation of where or how the chain of command ran. But absenteeism was apparently an issue on some level.— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) February 20, 2014
On one hand, if the league was active in the decision-making last year, then yikes. This year could turn out to be awful too. From what I understand, however, the league was in more of an advisory role than an active participant until the last few months, when they ramped up their involvement.
Of course, the "absentee" label rings very true, echoing The Goat Parade contributor ELAC's apt assertion that Vergara was a "deadbeat dad" to Chivas USA.
More whispers and reports will emerge as time goes by regarding the Vergara era at Chivas USA. Some revelations will confirm what we expected, while others may surprise us. It will be interesting to see the continuing fallout from the biggest turning point in club history.
What do you think? Leave a comment below!