The Houston Dynamo have a new majority owner.
A group led by Gabriel Brener, CEO of Brener International Group, LLC, has acquired the Anschutz Entertainment Group’s interests in the Dynamo, NWSL’s Houston Dash and BBVA Compass Stadium, the club announced Tuesday.
AEG, holders of the franchise’s operating rights, relocated the team to Houston in 2006. In 2008, AEG sold partial ownership interests in the Dynamo and BBVA Compass Stadium to Brener and boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya, CEO of Golden Boy Promotions.
Having served as a minority owner of the Dynamo since 2008, Brener, a native of Mexico and entrepreneur, will lead the ownership group comprised of three other investors: De La Hoya, also currently a minority partner of the club, as well as Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill.
“I am honored to become the new managing partner of the Houston Dynamo,” Brener said in a team release. “I’d like to thank Mr. Phil Anschutz and the AEG organization for being great partners over the years. Mr. Anschutz has been critical to the development of MLS and the game in the United States, and for that I thank him.
“Most importantly, I want to recognize the Dynamo fans, sponsors, players and staff and thank them for their support and efforts. I want to let them know that we are committed to fielding a winning team, providing an incredible fan experience, and giving back to the community.”
Said AEG president and CEO Dan Beckerman in the same statement: “We want to thank the Dynamo fans for their passion and tremendous support since we arrived in Houston in 2006. Since he joined our ownership group in 2008, we could not have asked for a better partner than Gabriel Brener. He has been a driving force behind the Dynamo and his love for this city and this franchise make him the perfect leader for this team moving forward.”
Silverstein is a private investor based in Portland, Ore. The Silverstein family were early cable industry pioneers, and Silverstein now leads a diversified investment platform, Stormlight Expeditions. An active philanthropist, he serves as a member of the X-Prize Foundation Vision Circle and on the boards of the William James Foundation and Mama Hope.
"We are thrilled to partner with Gabriel, Oscar and Ben to build the top-tier MLS organization that Houston, one of our country’s most exciting and vibrant cities, deserves,” Silverstein said. “I love soccer, and I am a big believer in the power of MLS to engage sports fans in the US and beyond. I am so excited to connect with our supporters and take the Dynamo fan experience to the next level.”
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Silverstein will serve on the MLS Board of Governors alongside Brener.
Guill is a Houston-based businessman and a founder and managing partner of White Deer Energy. He is also a minority shareholder of the Houston Astros. He has served as president of First Reserve Corporation and co-head of investment banking at Simmons & Company International.
“I am very pleased to join Gabriel, Jake and Oscar as an owner of the Dynamo and the Dash,” said Guill. “These teams bring a great deal to the City of Houston, and they offer an exciting sporting experience to thousands of enthusiastic soccer fans. Soccer is played by more people than any other sport, and the rapid growth of MLS reflects that. I am also excited as a Houstonian to be a part of this hometown team.”
Tuesday's announcement marks the 10th anniversary of the team’s arrival in Houston on Dec. 15, 2005.
“We are thrilled to have Gabriel Brener become the majority owner of the Houston Dynamo,” MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. “Gabriel has been an important member of our Board of Governors for more than seven years, and is highly respected throughout the soccer community. Houston is one of Major League Soccer’s cornerstone markets, and we know that Gabriel, Oscar De La Hoya and their new partners – Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill – will continue to build upon the Dynamo’s rich heritage.
“We appreciate AEG’s role in building the club into one of the league’s most successful clubs during the last 10 years and having the vision to build BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston.”