Davis, Hendricks among those buying United rights

January 5, 2007

WASHINGTON -- A group that includes Discovery Channel founder John Hendricks and former Duke basketball player Brian Davis is buying four-time MLS champion D.C. United's operating rights.

Anschutz Entertainment Group is selling the rights, and the deal will be announced Monday.

Current team president Kevin Payne has been trying to put together an ownership group for more than a year.

Payne's involvement in the purchase, along with the roles of Davis and Hendricks, was reported Friday on The Washington Post's Web site and confirmed to The Associated Press by a person with knowledge of the deal. The person spoke on condition of anonymity, because no formal announcement of the sale had yet been made.

Hendricks operated the Washington Freedom of the disbanded WUSA women's soccer league.

Davis and Duke teammate Christian Laettner are part of a group trying to buy the NBA's Memphis Grizzlies. The Grizzlies' current owner said last month the Davis-Laettner group had until Jan. 15 to come up with the money but added he doubted they would meet that deadline.

D.C. United issued a news release Friday saying Payne, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Mayor Adrian M. Fenty would attend a press conference Monday "to announce the club's new ownership group."

D.C. United spokesman Doug Hicks declined to comment.

In Major League Soccer, the teams are all owned by the league but operated individually. D.C. United won the MLS Cup in 1996, 1997, 1999 and 2004; no other team has won the championship more than twice.


Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press