The A-League will feature two teams in New Zealand for the 2024-25 season after a licence for an Auckland club was awarded to billionaire Bill Foley, who owns English Premier League club Bournemouth and reigning NHL champions the Vegas Golden Knights.
Foley is the founder and general partner of Black Knight Football Club, which owns AFC Bournemouth and has a significant investment in FC Lorient from France’s Ligue 1.
He also hoisted the Stanley Cup this year when the Golden Knights won the NHL title.
The yet-to-be-named team will enter a men’s side in the A-League next season, while a women’s team will be introduced the following season.
Foley pledged to bring a championship to Auckland, like he did with Las Vegas.
The NHL expansion team achieved the feat after just six seasons, the quickest to do so.
“It’s an honour to bring a top football club to Auckland,’’ he said.
“Building a championship team from expansion has been my most exhilarating professional achievement and I aim to do the same for the fans of New Zealand and particularly the community on the North Island.
“It’s a special place and an area that I know will embrace this team.”
The Auckland team will join the Wellington Phoenix in an expanded 13-team competition that Football Australia boss James Johnson said was part of the league’s “evolution”.
“We are pleased to welcome Bill Foley’s involvement with the Auckland expansion club.
“His investment is an important step in the evolution of the A-Leagues, combining our regional interests with an international perspective.
“Bill’s experience in sports and his focus on community engagement are valuable as we look forward to the club’s debut in the A-Leagues, offering a fresh and engaging approach for our fans and players.”
Auckland was the base for an A-League club, ironically called the Knights, between 2005 and 2007.
However, the club won just six of 42 matches in front of dismal home crowds.
Foley is an American who graduated from the West Point Naval Academy before embarking on a successful business career.
He founded the NHL Golden Knights and purchased AFC Bournemouth in 2022.