Brooklyn Nets owner Mikhail Prokhorov and the Buss family, owners of the Los Angeles Lakers, are among a number of National Basketball Association (NBA) team owners believed to have invested in North America’s new Professional Futsal League (PFL).
Russian businessman Prokhorov (pictured) has acquired the right to operate one of two proposed New York franchises in the planned 16-team league, which is set to begin play next year, according to the Dallas Morning News.
Details regarding the Buss family’s investment are not available, although it is likely they would be involved in a proposed Los Angeles franchise given their ties to the Californian city.
Dallas Morning News’ report follows last week’s announcement that Mark Cuban, owner of the Dallas Mavericks NBA team, had purchased a principal ownership stake in the PFL.
PFL executives and prospective investors are currently meeting in Dallas, Texas to discuss plans for the competition, which will reportedly have teams in Seattle/Vancouver, Boston, Chicago, Miami and Orlando, as well as Dallas, New York and Los Angeles.
Major clubs from outside North America, including FC Barcelona, Atletico Madrid, Boca Juniors and Corinthians, are being lined up for involvement in the league and have ‘committed to full or partial franchise stakes’, according to the Dallas Morning News report. It is thought that every PFL team will be either owned or run in partnership with an overseas soccer powerhouse.
Futsal, a version of five-a-side soccer played indoors with a smaller ball, is believed to be one of the fastest growing sports in America. The PFL will aim to capitalise on that growth by hosting exhibition matches across the US next year before the launch of a 50-game season in 2018.