Introductory press conferences are hope-filled affairs.
These events bring optimism by nature, as they often signal big change. Be it a new star player, a new head coach, a new executive, a new facility or partnership, though there is no bigger foundation for change than new ownership.
Houston Dynamo FC announced Tuesday that the sale of the club is complete, with Ted Segal taking over as the new majority owner and chairman. He also took control of NWSL club Houston Dash.
There was plenty of time for optimism from Segal, discussing the future in glowing terms, but he didn’t forget about the present.
As part of his opening statements, Segal announced the club’s acquisition of center back Teenage Hadebe from Turkish club Yeni Malatyaspor, a new three-year contract for standout defender Tim Parker as well as the hiring of former Texans president Jamey Roots as CEO.
“We’re ready to get to work.” Segal told media on Tuesday.
“It’s pretty remarkable,” MLS commissioner Don Garber added. “I’ve been on a lot of press conferences, not too many are announcing what they’re doing on day one with charitable contributions, new player signings and new employee signings.”
Segal didn’t go into specifics by way of budgets, but often returned to his promise of commitment to giving both the Dyanmo and Dash support for success, both financially and in taking an active role and focus in proceedings.
“I’m going to take an understated but active approach,” Segal said. “My intention is to provide the resources to the experts on the player and business side to maximize the opportunity for success.”
Segal is the founder and president of EJS Group, a New York City-based real estate development and financing company that invests directly in real estate development opportunities across primary markets in the United States. He’s also the co-founder and chairman of Verance Capital, an investment vehicle that provides early and growth-stage capital for sports, media and live entertainment businesses.
“There is nothing more integral to the success of a pro sports league than its owners,” Garber said. “We know that not just from our league, but from every league in North America so we were very involved.”
Garber said the process of Segal’s acquisition of the Dynamo had been in talks for about a year. Major League Soccer went through its vetting process, including gauging their passion for soccer, commitment to the sport financially and much more.
Houston have been called a “sleeping giant” by Garber, a city with a deep passion for the game with a beautiful downtown stadium to boot.
“This is a massive city with an incredible, passionate sports following in the various leagues,” Garber said. “It’s always been known as a great soccer town. When we came here, we knew we needed to have great facilities, located downtown. I said to Ted that it’s probably the best location in all of Major League Soccer. It led the urban movement that’s doing so well today. It has the right location and a passionate group of supporters.
“What needs to happen now is connecting all of those dots. How do you have a new ownership group with a new vision put its mark on this team and the Dash moving forward? I have great confidence that the best days are ahead. Their plan, vision and commitment is already made on day one.”