Prospective MLS ownership solidified


Vancouver Whitecaps FC announce that businessmen Steve Luczo and Jeff Mallett have formally joined the club's prospective Major League Soccer (MLS) ownership group.

CLICK HERE to listen to Jeff Mallett on TEAM 1040.

Luczo and Mallett join current Whitecaps owner Greg Kerfoot and basketball star Steve Nash in supporting Vancouver's application to bring an MLS franchise to the Lower Mainland and British Columbia. On Wednesday, October 15, MLS announced that the Whitecaps were one of seven prospective ownership groups that have submitted applications to become one of the next two teams to join the league by 2011.

"Steve and Jeff bring a tremendous amount of business acumen to our ownership team," said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi. "Both of them have demonstrated credibility in the business of sport, as well as significant entrepreneurial successes. We are very excited about the addition of Steve and Jeff to our ownership team, and look forward to bringing a Major League Soccer franchise to the city of Vancouver and the province of British Columbia."

In addition to his interest in the Whitecaps MLS bid, Luczo is part of the new Boston Celtics ownership group that led the team to its record 17th National Basketball Association title last spring, the team’s first championship since the mid-1980’s. In 2007, Luczo partnered with Jay Penske in creating the IndyCar Series racing team Luczo-Dragon Racing Ltd. He also has an ownership stake in the San Jose Stealth of the National Lacrosse League.

“The Whitecaps have an exceptional soccer history in North America and I’m excited to be part of the next chapter of the club’s story,” said Luczo.

Luczo was CEO of Seagate Technology from 1998 to 2004, and has served as chairman of the board since 2002. Seagate Technology is the worldwide leader in hard disc drives, generating 2008 revenues of approximately $12 billion US. Prior to joining Seagate in 1993, Luczo was managing director of the Global Technology Group at Bear, Stearns & Co. Previous to that, he worked in investment banking for Salomon Brothers Inc. The native of Chicago, Illinois, is also the founder of Balance Vector, a multi-faceted company with substantial involvement in investments, real estate and entertainment. He holds a BA in economics and psychology, as well as an MBA, from Stanford University.

Since 2002, Jeff Mallett has been an owner and member of the executive committee of Major League Baseball’s (MLB) San Francisco Giants. Forbes Magazine lists the Giants as the eighth most valuable team in MLB. His involvement with the Giants extends to AT&T Park, which was named the 2008 Sports Facility of the Year by Sports Business Journal. Mallett, who is a former member of the Canadian national and Olympic soccer team programs, became an investor and board adviser to the commissioner and board of governors of Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) in February 2008.

“I recall watching the Whitecaps in the old North American Soccer League as a child, and I’m thrilled to now be a part of the Whitecaps MLS ownership team,” added Mallett, who was born in Vancouver and raised in Victoria, BC. “Soccer in British Columbia has seen tremendous growth in the last decade and the idea of bringing the highest level of professional soccer in North America to Vancouver makes for a very bright future for the sport in our province.”

Mallett served as president and chief operating officer of Yahoo! Inc. from 1995 to 2002. A Fortune 500 company, Yahoo! Inc. will generate revenues in excess of $7 billion US for fiscal year 2008. From 2005 to 2008, he served as a director and chairman of the board of SNOCAP Inc., a provider of digital music licensing and copyright management services. Since September 2007, he has been a member of the board of directors of Synacor, the leading provider of private label digital Internet services to North America’s cable and telecom companies.

The 14-team MLS is set to add Seattle in 2009 and Philadelphia in 2010. The league office and the MLS expansion committee are currently reviewing the Whitecaps MLS expansion application, along with six other applications from markets in the United States and Canada. An announcement regarding which markets will receive the next two expansion clubs is expected to take place during the fourth quarter of 2008 or the first quarter of 2009.