Auckland to enter ALM next year, ALW to follow in 2025

Auckland's new A-League team has a kick-off date, a website and a chief executive officer, but still no word on a name, colours or home ground.

The new billionaire-bankrolled team will enter the A-League Men's competition next October, and begin life in the A-League Women a year later, for the 2025-26 competition.

Senior football executives from Australia, including A-Leagues Commissioner Nick Garcia, and New Zealand gathered in Auckland on Tuesday to formally hand a license to American club owner Bill Foley.

Foley is a 78-year-old insurance and financial services tycoon who has branched out into the sporting world in recent years.

In 2016, he founded NHL franchise Vegas Golden Knights, and in 2022, he led an investor group to buy English Premier League side Bournemouth.

Foley will hope to match or better the Golden Knights' path to success, after they reached the Stanley Cup finals in their inaugural season and won the championship this year, their sixth season.

"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," he said.

"It’s an honour to bring a top football club to Auckland ... it’s a special place and an area that I know will embrace this team."

Foley is yet to give the team a name but said the Black Knights was his preferred nickname in a New Zealand radio interview last month.

If confirmed, the name would reference both Foley's preferred 'Knights' nomenclature and the club's forerunner in the A-Leagues: the Auckland-based New Zealand Knights, which folded after two seasons.

The new team is also lacking other parts of club DNA - colours, a crest, a kit, a training facility and match venue - though as of Tuesday, it does have a website:

It also has its first employee: chief executive Nick Becker, who previously worked in events and marketing roles with Manchester City and Melbourne City football clubs.

A-Leagues chair Stephen Conroy said Foley has been selected as the preferred owner due to his track record.

"In Bill Foley we have a proven global sports investor and operator with a track record of building deep roots in the community, a passion for football, and a long-standing business and personal relationship with New Zealand," he said.

"We are delighted to welcome Bill and his team to the A-Leagues and look forward to seeing the club in action next year."

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