Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo and Nashville Predators forward Filip Forsberg are part of a new set of minority investors that have acquired a stake in Major League Soccer team Nashville SC.
The group also includes Antetokounmpo’s brothers, Milwaukee teammate Thanasis, as well as Turkey-based Kostas and G-League player Alex. The terms of the investment were not disclosed.
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“Soccer is a global sport and our newest owners reinforce once again our club’s commitment to being a global team,” principal owner John Ingram said in a statement. “Philippos and Giannis are not just amazing athletes — they are ambassadors for their respective sports, role models for millions and supporters in their cities and around the world. We share a common belief that our teams not only play to the highest standards , but also step up to uplift their communities and help those who need it most.”
The addition of the new investors continues a trend in MLS in which high-profile athletes have invested in the league’s teams. Kevin Durant of the Phoenix Suns bought a 5% stake in the Philadelphia Union in 2020, while James Harden of the Philadelphia 76ers acquired a 5% stake in the Houston Dynamo FC in 2019. Before that, Denver Broncos quarterback Russell Wilson bought a stake the Seattle Sounders FC.
As for Nashville SC, the addition of the Antetokounmpo brothers and Forsberg, the all-time leading scorer in Predators history, adds to the team’s list of high-profile investors that includes actress Reese Witherspoon, her husband Jim Toth and Tennessee. Derrick Henry.
“(Nashville) seems like a special place, there’s so much coming and going,” Thanasis Antetokounmpo told ESPN on a Zoom call. “And we’ve kind of had the same journey as well. Like, we’ve really fought to be in the big leagues, to be there, to be recognized, and somebody came along and gave us a chance. And at the same time, to not only give to the sport of football the opportunity to develop, but also (to become known) abroad.
“I want people worldwide to know about Nashville and see the football team. So it’s a thing for us. It’s a big one.”
While the Antetokounmpo brothers live for basketball — Giannis, Thanasis and Kostas were all part of NBA title teams, and Giannis was the NBA MVP in 2019 and 2020 — they also share a love of soccer.
“My father was a professional soccer player and it was the first sport I fell in love with in Greece,” said Yiannis “I always had the dream of having a soccer team. When my brothers and I were exploring Nashville SC, we knew it was a team and a city we wanted to be involved with. I couldn’t be more excited to join the Boys in Gold and look forward to coming to a game at GEODIS Park soon!”
Their father Charles played professionally in Nigeria and Germany. Their older brother, Francis, also played professionally in Greece. Karolos died in 2017 and Thanasis said this investment is a way to honor their father’s memory.
“I know he’s going to be so proud of us today, that this is happening,” Thanasis said of his father. “It’s not just the investment part of it. There’s a part of it that’s a legacy, which for us, it’s for the next generations that we’re a part of this.”
Forsberg grew up a Liverpool fan in his native Sweden thanks to his father Patrick. But it was his attendance at some Nashville home games last year at the team’s brand new stadium, GEODIS Park, that convinced him and his wife, Erin, to invest.
“The stadium here in Nashville, the fans and the atmosphere was awesome,” Forsberg told ESPN by phone. “It was like the first taste that this is real football, real football. And once we were approached by Nashville SC to do some kind of collaboration, that kind of started everything.
“We’ve been really excited about it, me and my wife, and here we are, months later, and it’s been a really cool journey so far. We’re just getting started.”
Nashville beat New York City FC 2-0 at home on the opening weekend and travel to Harrison, New Jersey, to face the New York Red Bulls on March 4.