Wealthy tech executives like investing in sports team for the same reason they like investing in restaurants: it guarantees them a seat. And YouTube cofounder Chad Hurley just bought a front row view of the Los Angeles Football Club, alongside co-owners Magic Johnson, Mia Hamm, motivational maniac Tony Robbins, and more.
Major League Soccer "awarded" the ownership group a new team, but like a stealth startup, it has yet to launch its "brand identity." Rather, the club will debut in 2017 in a soccer stadium "built specifically for the team."
Hurley (the guy standing next to Johnson in the photo above) can't be expecting a return on his soccer investment. A few days ago Chivas USA, another Los Angeles-based Major League Soccer team, shut down "after 10 troubled and unsuccessful years." But if he was hoping for a status symbol, Hurley may be disappointed. In a post about the new team, The Washington Post lumped Hurley in as an afterthought, indistinguishable in a litany of other men, while Magic Johnson got the headline.
[Investors include] All of the above, plus the likes of Nomar Garciaparra, former MLB star; Rick Welts, President and COO of the Golden State Warriors NBA team; as well as Allen Shapiro, Chad Hurley, Kirk Lacob, Mark Leschly, Mike Mahan, Irwin Raij, Paul Schaeffer, Brandon Schneider, Jason Sugarman, Tony Robbins and Harry Tsao, will join managing partners Henry Nguyen, Peter Guber and Tom Penn on the new venture.
Hurley sold YouTube to Google for $1.65 billion in 2006. Recently, he's lost the hot hand. He was sued by Kanye West and Kim Kardashian last November for using their engagement video to promote Mixbit, his latest video-sharing service. The couple eviscerated Mixbit and Hurley's "consecutive flops" in their complaint. Not long after, he shut down Avos Systems, the flailing incubator he launched with his YouTube cofounder Steve Chen, who is now hiding out as an entrepreneur-in-residence at Google Ventures.
The soccer club isn't Hurley's first sports bet. We heard he previously invested in the Golden State Warriors, a basketball team so popular with Silicon Valley venture capitalists that it has its own AngelList profile. A source told Valleywag: "He also put money into Formula 1 in Europe and lost quite a bit." In 2009, just a few years after the Google buyout, Michael Arrington used the Formula 1 investment as an example of Hurley's "ridiculously cool life."
[Image via Getty]