With the MLS Cup Final now just two weeks away, there are already some compelling storylines surrounding the clash, like the always popular “David versus Goliath” angle. On one hand, you’ve got the high-spending, name dropping, Hollywood glitz of the Galaxy, bankrolled by their billionaire business and entertainment mogul, Phil Anschutz. On the other, you have the hard-working Texas team, supported by their owner, an old-fashioned midwestern oilman who turned his father’s mining operation into a multi-billion dollar global empire. His name? Phil Anschutz.
No, this isn’t some sort of wild coincidence that will result in a 1990s family comedy about two billionaires with the same name who get mixed up and then hilarious hi-jinks ensue. Phil Anschutz is a long-time investor in Major League Soccer through his entertainment company AEG, at various times owning all or part of the Galaxy, the Dynamo, the Colorado Rapids, Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes, New York/New Jersey MetroStars and D.C. United. He’s probably the single biggest reason why MLS even exists, and why it’s as popular as it has ever been. He made David Beckham the first designated player back in 2007.
He’s been such a good patron of the league, they named the new championship trophy in his honor in 2008. Meaning that no matter who wins on the 20th, he gets a ring and a trophy named after him. Which is pretty badass, if you ask us.
(He’s not the only one. Another oil tycoon, Arkansas-born Lamar Hunt, was an owner in the old NASL, and owned three MLS teams: Columbus, Kansas City, and Dallas. He built the first soccer-specific stadium in the country in Columbus, and the U.S. Open Cup was renamed for him in 1998.)