Giannis Antetokounmpo buys stake in MLS membership Nashville SC

Milwaukee Bucks celebrity Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nashville Predators ahead Filip Forsberg are a part of a brand new set of minority buyers who’ve acquired a stake in Major League Soccer facet Nashville SC.

Also included within the group are Antetokounmpo’s brothers: his Milwaukee teammate, Thanasis; Kostas, who performs in Turkey; and G-League participant Alex. The phrases of the funding weren’t disclosed.

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“Soccer is a global sport, and our newest owners once again reinforce our club’s commitment to being a global team,” principal proprietor John Ingram mentioned in a press release. “Filip and Giannis are not just amazing athletes — they are ambassadors for their respective sports, role models for millions and advocates in their hometowns and worldwide. We share a common belief that our teams not only play to the highest standards, but also lift up their communities and help those who need it most.”

The addition of the brand new buyers continues a development in MLS during which distinguished athletes have invested within the league’s groups. The Phoenix Suns’ Kevin Durant bought a 5% stake within the Philadelphia Union in 2020, and James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers acquired 5% of the Houston Dynamo FC in 2019. Before that, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson bought a stake within the Seattle Sounders FC.

In phrases of Nashville SC, the addition of the Antetokounmpo brothers and Forsberg, the main profession scorer in Predators historical past, provides to the crew’s listing of high-profile buyers, which already contains actress Reese Witherspoon and her husband, Jim Toth, in addition to Tennessee working again Derrick Henry.

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“[Nashville] seems like a special place; there’s so much that’s up-and-coming,” Thanasis Antetokounmpo instructed ESPN over a Zoom name. “And we kind of had the same journey as well. Like, we’ve really fought to be in the big leagues, to be there, to be acknowledged, and somebody came and gave us an opportunity. And at the same time, for us to not only give the sport of soccer an opportunity to grow but [be known] overseas as well.

“I need folks globally to find out about Nashville and see the soccer crew. So it is a factor for us. It’s large.”

Although the Antetokounmpo brothers make their living in basketball — Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas have all been part of NBA title-winning teams, and Giannis was the NBA MVP in 2019 and 2020 — they share a love for soccer as well.

“My father was an expert soccer participant, and it was the primary sport I fell in love with in Greece,” Giannis said. “I’ve at all times had the dream of proudly owning a soccer crew. When my brothers and I explored Nashville SC, we knew it was a crew and a metropolis that we wished to get entangled with. I could not be extra excited to affix the Boys in Gold, and might’t wait to come back to a match at GEODIS Park quickly!”

The brothers’ father, Charles, played professionally in Nigeria and Germany. Their oldest brother, Francis, played professionally in Greece as well. Charles died in 2017, and Thanasis said this investment is a way to honor their father’s memory.

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“I do know he’ll be so happy with us right now, that that is taking place,” Thanasis said about his father. “It’s not simply the funding a part of it. There’s part of it that is a legacy, that for us, it is for generations to come back that we’re a part of this.”

Forsberg grew up as a fan of Liverpool in his native Sweden thanks to his father, Patrik. But it was his attendance at some Nashville home games last year in the team’s brand-new stadium, GEODIS Park, that persuaded him and his wife, Erin, to invest.

“The stadium right here in Nashville, with the followers and the ambiance, was superior,” Forsberg told ESPN via telephone. “It was like the primary style that that is actual soccer, actual soccer. And as soon as we had been approached by Nashville SC to do some sort of partnership, that sort of began every little thing.

“We were really excited about it, me and my wife and, here we are, months later, and it’s been a really cool journey so far. We’re just now getting started.”

Nashville beat New York City FC 2-0 at dwelling on opening weekend and can journey to Harrison, New Jersey, to face the New York Red Bulls on March 4.