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Saturday, September 02, 2006

Kansas City Wizards Sold by Hunts, Staying in KC

Lamar Hunt representing the Hunt family announced that the organization has completed the sale of the family's interest in the Kansas City Wizards and their related interest in Soccer United Marketing (SUM) to a six person group of Kansas City area residents led by Cerner Corporation (supplier of healthcare technology with more than $1.5 billion in sales) executives Neal Patterson and Cliff Illig. The purchasing group also includes Pat Curran, David French, Greg Maday and Robb Heineman.

The acquiring entity is OnGoal LLC. The purchase documents were signed yesterday and the new ownership group will take over operation of the Wizards on September 1.

Patterson and Illig live in the Kansas City area and, with their partners, will now set about building soccer-specific stadium in Overland Park, the second-largest city in Kansas with a population of about 167,000. The group wants to build on land located on the southwest corner of U.S. Highway 69 and 159th St. in south Overland Park. The development will include retail, residential and office development plus youth soccer fields. Patterson said the goal is that the new stadium would complete by April 2009, in time for the beginning of the 2009 season.

Going into the 2007 season, MLS has 9 different owners for its 13 teams. Kansas City is the second MLS club sold this season, with the AEG-owned Metrostars sold to Red Bull and becoming Red Bull NY. The Hunt family remains the investor-operators of the Columbus Crew and FC Dallas, both clubs with soccer-specific stadiums. Anschutz Entertainment Group also owns multiple teams: DC, Chicago, Los Angeles, and Houston.


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