LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles Football Club unveiled its logo and colors on Thursday, but it was the addition of Will Ferrell as one of the MLS team's new part-owners that stole the show.
"This is not a joke," Ferrell said. "I'm actually a member of this fine ownership group."
Riot Games co-founder and CEO Brandon Beck was also introduced as a new part-owner, but nearly all of the buzz created inside Union Station in downtown Los Angeles surrounded Ferrell. The comedian took the stage about 25 minutes into the presentation and was introduced by another part-owner, former U.S women's national team star Mia Hamm.
As Ferrell was seated among various LAFC owners and city dignitaries, Hamm asked, "You want in?" Ferrell answered in the affirmative and Hamm said, "It looks like you're in."
Ferrell then took the stage as a member of LAFC's star-studded ownership group. The club is owned by Malaysian billionaire Vincent Tan and American venture capitalist Henry Nguyen with Magic Johnson, Peter Guber, Tony Robbins, Mia Hamm and Nomar Garciaparra among the minority partners. The team will begin playing in 2018.
"I've never been part-owner of anything, though I'm still part-owner of an '84 Toyota Camry with my brother," Ferrell said.
- ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) January 7, 2016
Also in attendance were members of the LAFC fan group, Black Army 1850, which originally was affiliated with the now-defunct Chivas USA. Members from as far away as Palmdale, a 60-mile drive from downtown L.A., were on the scene.
"It's thrilling to see a turnout like this," Ferrell said. "The fact that we have people from Palmdale is impressive. If we're already reaching out to Palmdale, you know we're in good shape."
Ferrell joked that he began playing soccer in the "mean streets of Irvine, California" when he was 8 years old. In 2005 he starred in the comedy "Kicking and Screaming" about the travails of coaching youth soccer. But all three of his sons play the game, and he said that his wife, Viveca, played soccer at Pomona College.
"To say soccer is a part of our lives in an understatement," he said.
LAFC president Tom Penn, who also works as an NBA analyst for ESPN, indicated that it was another part-owner, Larry Berg, who approached Ferrell about joining the ownership group. Berg's children played on the same soccer team as Ferrell's, and it gave Berg an idea.
"On the pitch, Larry said, 'I'm involved in this, and I think it would be interesting for you,'" Penn told ESPN FC. "That became the dialogue."
What followed was a series of meetings with Penn, managing partner Nguyen and LAFC executive chairman Guber.
"Ferrell was really enthusiastic about it and now he's a member of the club," Penn said.
The additions swelled LAFC's ownership ranks to 26. Just how many more owners will the team add on?
"There's no plan," Nguyen said. "From the outside, it seems cumbersome. I tell you what, it's been a joy to have such a collection of incredibly successful, experienced, talented people contributing their ideas, and they're finding ways to integrate those into our process. I'll say for now there probably won't be any more new owners, but there's no promise."
- Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) January 7, 2016
The club also unveiled its crest on Thursday, revealing a wing incorporated into an "LA" monogram. While black has been part of LAFC's identity from the start, the club's shade of dark gold appears to be unique in the league. Nguyen says LAFC also will incorporate splashes of red into its schemes.