Real estate developer Ted Segal is near an agreement to purchase Major League Soccer’s Houston Dynamo FC for about $400 million, according to multiple people familiar with the transaction.
Segal, founder and president of EJS Group, is buying the team from majority owner Gabriel Brener, one of a small number of Latino owners in major U.S. sports. He will retain a minority stake in the clubs. Brener first invested in the Dynamo in 2008 and bought out AEG in 2015. Minority owners include former boxing champion Oscar De La Hoya and NBA star James Harden.
Segal’s deal includes the NWSL’s Houston Dash, and the team’s business relationship with BBVA Stadium, which is owned by the local stadium authority, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the purchase agreement isn’t signed.
Segal, the team and Major League Soccer declined to comment.
Most of the Dynamo minority owners, including Harden and De La Hoya, will remain involved with smaller stakes, the people said. Jake Silverstein, a Portland-based investor, is exiting. (Attempts to reach Silverstein through his office weren’t immediately successful).
A lawyer by trade, Segal spent a number of years as a vice president in the family-run LS Power Equity Advisors before founding EJS. The firm does real estate development and financing, primarily in the New York City area. He is also a Professional Fighters League investor and board member.
The sale comes six months after the Dynamo unveiled a new crest and a new brand identity, which included the addition of Football Club to the official team name. Struggling under poor results and underwhelming attendance, the team chose to enter its 16th season, attempting to forge a “deeper connection” to the city. The Dash, which won the NWSL Challenge Cup in 2020, were also rebranded.
The Dynamo joined MLS in 2006 and found success immediately. The club won MLS titles in each of its first two seasons, then lost in the title game in 2011 and 2012. Since then, however, the team has made just two playoff appearances. Average attendance in the country’s eighth-largest media market has also steadily fallen, from 20,658 in 2015 to 15,674 in 2019.
This is the second MLS sale agreement in the past two weeks, following the Wilf family’s deal to acquire Orlando City SC. Real Salt Lake is also on the market, a sale being handled by the league itself, with Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils co-owner David Blitzer one of the interested parties.