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Banker Eyes Pro Soccer Team

Banker Eyes Pro Soccer TeamTufts graduate Andrew Murstein has started his own bank. Next, he hopes to delve into sports ownership. A Kansas City Major League Soccer franchise may be his next stop.

Medford/Somerville, Mass. [05.17.05] "In niches there are riches," states the motto of Medallion Financial Corporation. Andrew Murstein (A'86),Tufts graduate and founder of the New York-based bank, sees Major League Soccer as one such niche. By bidding on the Kansas City Wizards franchise, he is hoping the equation proves true.

“You don't have to be the best and the biggest thing in business, and in sports it may be the same thing,” Murstein, who has bid $15 million for the club, told the Kansas City Star.

“Where football is clearly the most successful league right now, I think soccer is a niche sport right now, but I think soccer has the potential to be that great sport," he explained to the newspaper. "I see soccer being the first true international league where 20 years from now, it'll be New York playing Rome."

Medallion, of which 40-year-old Murstein is president, got its name from the New York taxicab medallions his grandfather Leon began collecting in 1937. The medallions sell for $400,000 today, the Star reported, with Medallion said to own $200 million worth.

With an estimated worth of $800 million, Medallion has lived up to its motto by focusing on "niches" like women- and minority-owned businesses, Murstein told the Star. Baseball legend and Atlanta-area business owner Hank Aaron is a member of the bank's board of directors.

While Medallion is based in the Big Apple, Murstein is excited about diving into the bread basket.

“Kansas City is a great market, and I really would like to make investments there even outside of the sports world," he told the Star. "The more I'm learning about it, the more I'm thinking about opening an office there.”

If the bid for the Kansas City team falls through – the Star reported that it would be contingent upon the construction of a new stadium – Murstein has also explored ownership opportunities in Houston, San Antonio, Las Vegas and New York.

After graduating from Tufts in 1986, Murstein received an MBA from New York University. In 2003, Medallion was chartered in Utah and approved by the FDIC. He told the Star that opening a bank was one of two business goals – the other being the ownership of a professional sports franchise.

“One down and one to go,” he told the newspaper.

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