An investment group led by former Houston Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow, who lost his baseball job following a sign-stealing scandal, has bought Spanish soccer club Leganés.
“We will do everything we can to improve this club,” Luhnow said in Madrid on Thursday after buying the second division side for an undisclosed sum from former owners Victoria Pavón and Felipe Moreno.
Leganés is a modest club based in a southern district of Madrid. The team finished 12th in the 22-team Second Division last season.
Two years ago, Luhnow and Astros manager AJ Hinch were suspended for a year by Major League Baseball after discovering that the team had designed a sign-stealing system using electronics during the Houston’s run to the 2017 World Series title and again in the 2018 season. They were both subsequently fired in January 2020.
Luhnow heads Blue Crow Sports, an investment group he says includes investors from the United States, Mexico, El Salvador, Nicaragua and Canada. Earlier this month, Blue Crow Sports completed its acquisition of Mexican club Cancun FC.
Leganés had been owned since 2008 by Pavón and Moreno, a local couple who took over when the club was in debt and playing in the third division.
The club were promoted to the first division for the first time in 2016. They spent four seasons competing with Spain’s top teams before being relegated. His greatest achievement came in 2017-18 when he beat Real Madrid on their way to reaching the Copa del Rey semi-finals.
Luhnow talks began with the former owners in September. He said his group chose Leganés because they saw Spanish football as having the greatest potential for growth in the European game, in part because of the league’s strict cost control measures and its recent investment deal with a private equity firm.
As the new president of Leganés, Luhnow said his group wants to build its youth teams, promote its women’s team and invest in technologies such as the use of big data analysis.
“All sports have used technology to create advantages, and that’s what we want to do,” Luhnow said in Spanish. “We have a group of experienced people, including the Premier League and MLS, who know how to use technology, and Leganés can take advantage of that. Football is a bit behind other sports… but that will change in the years to come.