Philip Anschutz, owner of AEG, has made it clear he has no immediate plans to sell majority ownership of the company. Not all that long ago, AEG was not just on the auction block, but they had two or three interested substantial bids to purchase majority ownership rights. And yet today AEG still remains with Anschutz.
While the sale of AEG matters little to Houston Dynamo fans, as realistically very little would actually change, the announcement today by the Columbus Crew of their ownership change hits a chord close to home. The Hunt Family, who until today held ownership of both the Crew and our beloved rivals from Southern Oklahoma, FC Dallas, have now left only AEG as the remaining multi-team owners in Major League Soccer.
It is not news that Don Garber, Commissioner of MLS, wants zero multi-team owners. It has been an agenda of his for quite some time, yet here we sit in the middle of the seventh season since the inauguration of the franchise. Many Dynamo fans have no qualms telling you the team is effectively the red-headed step child of the other AEG owned franchise, the LA Galaxy.
AEG has seen fit to spend at will on high-power, high-draw players like Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane, David Beckham, and most recently Robbie Rogers. They will spare no expense to ensure their media darling franchise has the power to remain in the spotlight as long as possible.
Of course, this doesn't mean the LA Galaxy have had an easy go of it. This season, with Landon Donovan spending a large amount of time either in Cambodia or with the US Men's National Team, and with David Beckham finally departing for the sweet, sweet embrace of retirement (thank the Heavens!), they have barely managed a winning record (10-9-3).
The LA Galaxy, even still, are a team who find themselves poised with opportunities and financial backing to make moves when necessary. All of that is good and well, and really if that were the whole story Houston Dynamo fans wouldn't care one way or the other. When those same funds are diverted from the club we pour our hearts and souls into is when we stand up and say, "It is time for change."
Some soccer fans might point to the Houston Dynamo and say it is by the Front Office's choice we don't have a truly powerful superstar media darling. This Front Office has done what they have done with a simply anemic budget. Certainly, it is more than some other franchises, but at the same time they are owned by the same ownership group who brought David Beckham and Robbie Keane to MLS.
If AEG is so willing to spend on their media darling franchise, which they built by spending to begin with, what is the hold up in offering substantial funds for a second Designated Player signing for the Houston fan base? Just imagine for a moment what kind of difference a second DP might have made for our beloved franchise in the past two MLS Cups.
The reality is there is one remaining ownership group with multiple teams in Major League Soccer, and it is time for change.