Mexican soccer team Club Necaxa has added a trio of investors at a valuation north of $200 million, according to multiple people familiar with the details.
Former pro basketball player Matt Walsh, Card Sound Capital managing partner Jake Jackson, and music entrepreneur Nick Gross, son of prominent hedge fund manager Bill Gross, are all investing in the club, said the people, who were granted anonymity because the details haven’t been announced.
It’s a sharp valuation increase for the team. Necaxa was valued at $150 million in June when it sold a 1% equity stake for $1.5 million using NFT technology. A few months earlier, American investors Al Tylis and Sam Porter led a group that purchased about half the club at a valuation in the “low nine figures.”
The trio is buying into the U.S. holding company that contains the Tylis-Porter group’s equity, and will have roughly 5-10% of the overall team shares, the person said. The rest of the club is controlled by the Tinajero family.
A representative for Club Necaxa didn’t respond to an email seeking comment. Walsh declined to comment; Jackson and Gross didn’t respond to requests.
Led by clubs like Chivas and Club America, LigaMX is the most-watched soccer league in the U.S. by a wide margin. That said, its teams trade for much less than MLS franchises. The least valuable MLS club is worth $370 million, according to Sportico’s calculations, with the average club worth about $550 million.
LigaMX has undergone recent structural changes that have made it more attractive to foreign investors. Those include the temporary suspension of relegation to lower leagues and a higher commitment to financial transparency, creating optimism around the possibility of selling the league’s commercial rights as a group. There’s also increased cooperation with MLS—the two have discussed a potential merger, and in September introduced a new annual cross-league tournament.
The Tylis-Porter group—which includes Mexican-American actress Eva Longoria, German soccer star Mesut Ozil, model Kate Upton and her husband, MLB pitcher Justin Verlander—was the first major U.S. investment into LigaMX.
Other U.S. leagues are also eyeing Mexico. The NBA has played 10 regular season games in Mexico City since 2014, and when the NFL recently awarded international rights to its teams, Mexico was the most coveted foreign market. Nine teams, including the Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Los Angeles Rams and San Francisco 49ers, were awarded rights in Mexico.
Gross is a musician, producer and CEO of Big Noise, a Los Angeles-based label, publisher and recording facility. Walsh spent roughly a decade playing basketball professionally, including a stint with the NBA’s Miami Heat. He is currently CEO and managing partner of the New Zealand Breakers, a basketball team in the NBL.
A lawyer-turned-healthcare-entrepreneur, Jackson founded CSC in 2013 to invest across real estate, sustainability and personalized healthcare. CSC has since expanded into sports, including an investment in the Breakers.