The Philadelphia Union players may not get a chance to hang out with their NBA counterparts when both leagues resume play in Orlando but they can now count an NBA player as a member of their ownership group.
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant was announced as a new minority owner and community partner of the Philadelphia Union on Monday. Durant has purchased a 5 percent stake in the club with an option to purchase an additional 5 percent in the future.
“I’m excited to partner with the Philadelphia Union for years to come. My team and I connected instantly with the Union coaching staff and leadership, as well as the team’s story,” Kevin Durant stated in a news release. “Off the pitch, I’m looking forward to working in the Chester and Philadelphia communities and making an impact in the same way that the KDCF has been able to in my hometown of Prince George’s County.”
Durant joins an ownership team that includes majority owner Jay Sugarman, minority owners Richard Leibovitch, Richie Graham, Joseph Greco, David Seltzer and Robert Buccini, Christopher Buccini and David Pollin of the Buccini/Pollin group, which owns the 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington.
“Kevin brings us unique perspectives as a person, as a champion, and as a sports icon,” majority owner Jay Sugarman stated in a news release. “His work with the Kevin Durant Charity Foundation has shown he has a community-first mindset that resonates with our club’s DNA. Combined with his competitive drive and forward-thinking mentality, we believe Kevin adds a key piece in reaching our ambitions for the club.”
Financial terms were not disclosed.
Forbes listed the club’s valuation at $240 million last November, 18th out of 24 teams in the league. Sugarman told the Inquirer that Durant’s investment puts the team “north of the most recent expansion fee,” which is reportedly $325 million for the Charlotte franchise.
The Union and Thirty Five Ventures have committed to developing programs in the Chester and Philadelphia areas with three main focuses: working to empower Chester’s youth to tackle social and racial injustice in their community and beyond via social justice programs and resources, addressing needs related to COVID-19 with support for food banks and local small business recovery efforts and supporting youth sports programming and development in Chester and surrounding areas.
“We are excited to bring our expertise to this partnership and help expand the Philadelphia Union’s footprint not only in soccer, but the sports world as a whole,” Thirty Five Ventures partner Rich Kleiman stated in a news release. “We set out to create a different type of partnership that isn’t simply a passive ownership stake, but real involvement across marketing and business development from the whole Thirty Five Ventures team.”