Mark Ingram – MLS Franchise Part-Owner?

Baltimore Ravens running back Mark Ingram (21) carries the ball in the fourth quarter during a Week 17 NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Sunday, Jan. 3, 2021, at Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati. The Baltimore Ravens won, 38-3. The Cincinnati Bengals finished with 2020 season 4-11-1. Baltimore Ravens At Cincinnati Bengals Week 17 Jan 3

Houston Texans running back Mark Ingram II is now joining a list that a few NFL players are on… being a part-owner of a team in another sport. After agreeing to a contract with Houston in the offseason, the former Baltimore Raven and three-time All-Pro recently announced that he is taking a one-percent stake in the ownership of Major League Soccer’s D.C. United franchise as an investor, pending approval from the MLS.

Ingram is the latest name in a string of athletes that have hopped on board as an investor in ownership groups with teams in other sports leagues. Other NFL athletes who fall under this category include Chiefs superstar and perennial MVP candidate quarterback Patrick Mahomes (minority owner of Major League Baseball’s Kansas City Royals) and Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (partial owner of the National Basketball Association’s Milwaukee Bucks). As Ingram noted to Aaron Wilson of Washington’s SportsTalk 790, “D.C. United is a club rich with tradition and ripe with promise. I am excited about the recent investments the club has made to build towards a sustainable future and the decisions they have taken at the leadership level both on and off the pitch. Additionally, the club’s values have been on full display recently and they align with my beliefs.”

Reasoning Behind the Investment

One of the main reasons why Ingram decided to invest in D.C. United was his time in 2019 and 2020 he spent playing with the Ravens when he met the soccer franchise’s co-chairmen Steve Kaplan and Jason Levien. In a statement, the duo said that Ingram shares their set of values and “a love of sport and community.”

The former Alabama Crimson Tide running back also noted that he spent a lot of time in the DMV area (Delaware, Maryland, Virginia) and he has had the fortune of attending D.C. United matches and the passion of the sporting community, while also giving props to the area’s fanbase, and he looks forward to playing an active role in the leadership group to help the club compete for more major trophies (such as the annual MLS Cup) and deepen the impact within the DMV and D.C. communities.

While Ingram prepares for his 2021 season with the Houston Texans, he’ll still hold a connection to the region surrounding our nation’s capital with D.C. United. It seems as though maintaining such a tie was a key factor to his investment with the team, as well as the organization’s efforts toward advancing with ideals of inclusion/diversity and its chances of on-pitch success.