Phoenix Rising announces ownership transfer of FC Tucson

Feb 18, 2021, 11:03 AM | Updated: 11:35 am
Phoenix Rising FC stadium Casino Arizona Field. (Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)...
Phoenix Rising FC stadium Casino Arizona Field. (Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)
(Arizona Sports/Ashley Orellana)

Phoenix Rising FC announced on Thursday that the club has transferred the ownership of its USL League One side FC Tucson.

The new owner will be Benevolent Sports Tucson, a subsidiary of private equity firm Benevolent Capital, which is led by original Phoenix Rising founder and investor Brett Johnson.

Johnson is also the current principal owner of the USL Championship franchise launching in Rhode Island in 2023 in addition to being a board member of Danish first division side FC Helsingør.

He will remain as an owner and board member of Phoenix Rising, according to a press release.

“Brett Johnson was the initial investor in Phoenix Rising FC who assembled its foundation of local shareholders and energetic board members,” PRFC governor Berke Bakay said in the release.

“With the relocation of Phoenix Rising’s professional training facilities and stadium expansion at Wild Horse Pass requiring our current focus, it is the right time to leverage Brett’s successful experience by having him develop similar success for FC Tucson.”

The announcement comes after U.S. Soccer revealed Tucson was eligible for the 2021 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

Tucson had not been eligible to compete in the competition in years prior, as clubs are not allowed to participate if they are under the technical control of a team in a higher division.

As a result, Phoenix Rising and FC Tucson can now be drawn against each other should both clubs reach the same round of the tournament.

While under PRFC, Tucson was elevated from amateur to professional status, created an affiliate program with FC Tucson Youth Soccer Club and continued the annual MLS preseason event in the Old Pueblo.

“Tucson is a soccer town. I’m honored and excited for this opportunity,” Johnson said in the release.

“The history of MLS preseasons, the many years of success as an amateur team in the USL League 2, the 2019 transition to professional play in USL League One, an affiliation with one of the largest youth soccer clubs in Tucson, and last year’s arrival of new club president Amanda Powers. … The right ingredients coming together for the start of a new decade for sports in Tucson.”

“Phoenix Rising is passing the baton at the perfect time when now more than ever the local community needs our inspiration and attention,” Powers added.

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