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Tony Amannpour and fellow Iranian investors make a bid to buy first professional sports franchise.

Behrouz Bahmani
October 22, 2004

OK by now you've likely heard the news. Tony Amanpour a local San Jose businessman has bought 4,200 tickets to give away to Iranians, this Sunday, October 24th at 2pm in San Jose Spartan Stadium.

I repeat, 4,200 free tickets, just for Iranians!

You get your free ticket (one for each person) by printing out this form (in PDF format) , filling it out and taking to the Eastern gate (near 10th st. entrance) at the ticket booth marked "Iranian Group Tickets".

With this free ticket you will be able to see the 2-time MLS league and defending champion San Jose Earthquakes play in a Western Conference semifinal match against league rival, the Kansas City Wizards. It should be a good match. For free, you can't beat it. Come early, Sadri and I will take on any of you punks 2 on 2 until the game starts. BYOK (Bring Your Own Kabab).

Tony Amanpour, a local businessman who in spite of the obvious path of high tech silicon valley careers, chose to go into the Real Estate Mortgage business instead (Amanpour is also the cousin of CNN's chief international correspondent, Christiane Amanpour). Now as CEO of First Portfolio Mortgage, he has rallied some 20 other local Iranian entrepreneurs to prepare to put up what will likely be close to $10 Million and change in order to buy the team for 2005 from the current owner Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG). AEG has not been able to grow the business primarily due to not being able to secure a new stadium for the team.

"Our goal is to buy this team and give back to the community that has been good to us, but also to be a channel for us to do our part as a team player toward [the USA] winning the World Cup in 2010," Amanpour said recently. "We would like to see the USA become a premier leader in the soccer world, and that path is through MLS."

Amanpour has also stated publicly that in his native Iran, the USA team is the second most popular national squad, after Iran, of course. He said we shouldn't confuse the Iranian government with the Iranian people. "We love Americans, and there's no grudges being held at all," he said. "And if there is a way for dialogue [between the two countries] to open up, it's hopefully through the game of socceróthat's how the youth in Iran will see the American feel for their people. Because that's exactly the message we're going to take to [the Iranian people]óand take to the American publicóthat we really want to be an ambassador for that love of the American people."

Also bidding for the team is Mexican franchise Club America, which would move the team to Houston. Another buyer in San Antonio also looms.

It is hoped that if Amanpour is successful, with his experience in real estate, he can also succeed at building a new soccer stadium that the team sorely needs in order to meet the needs of a state of the art soccer franchise in this area. The current stadium, was built for American Football and is not as wide as is needed ideally.

See You at the game!

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