Former UnitedHealth Group CEO William McGuire will reportedly be the new owner of the Minnesota Stars, the state’s professional soccer team.
The North American Soccer League (NASL), which has owned and managed the team since 2011, said earlier this week that it would disclose the team’s new owner at a Thursday afternoon press conference at Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis. And the Star Tribune
, which spoke with McGuire, reported late Wednesday that he plans to buy the team for an undisclosed sum.
The NASL was reportedly on the verge of disbanding the team if it couldn’t find a new owner. Its sale to McGuire ensures that the team will remain in Minnesota.
McGuire is exploring the possibility of the team playing home games next season at different metro area sites, including the Metrodome, in order to draw more fans, the Star Tribune
reported. The team currently plays its home games at the National Sports Center in Blaine.
“Results will follow our ability to put a high-quality product in front of the fans,” McGuire told the Minneapolis newspaper. “We haven’t fulfilled that yet, whether because of the location, the budget, or the poor financial performance.”
He said that he began exploring the possibility of buying the team in July and saw the potential for it to gain a foothold in the competitive Twin Cities sports market. He wants to preserve the Stars, formerly known as Minnesota Thunder, as “a piece of making a better community.”
McGuire, 64, became president of UnitedHealth in 1989 and CEO in 1991. He oversaw the company’s emergence as the nation's second-largest health insurer, pushing it into new markets and buying out larger, more established companies. He was reportedly the highest-paid Minnesota executive from 2000 and 2005. He resigned from his positions in 2006 amid a scandal involving backdating stock options, a practice that rewarded McGuire and other executives with inflated gains, according to the Star Tribune
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