Photo by Mike Mertes | AZ Big Media
Mark Detmer applies career experiences to passion for soccer
Mark Detmer, managing director of JLL and a co-lead for JLL’s Industrial Capital Markets Group for the West region, has closed more than $10 billion in transaction volume over the last five years.
Throughout the commercial real estate industry, he’s become well known for representing institutional owners, private equity, REITs, sovereign wealth and developers in the acquisition or disposition of office and industrial assets.
But Detmer never thought his 22-plus-year career in CRE would lead him to become a co-founding owner and board member for Arizona’s only professional soccer team – Phoenix Rising Football Club.
Detmer’s involvement with Phoenix Rising began in early 2016, after a conversation with Brett Johnson, who is now the team’s co-chairman and alternative governor. The two discussed how Phoenix was the largest market in the U.S. without a Major League Soccer (MLS) team, and that there was a pathway to the MLS through a United Soccer League team that was undercapitalized and without a stadium solution.
“If we could find the right location for a stadium, we knew we could re-capitalize that team and take Phoenix soccer to the next level,” Detmer explains.
Using his leadership experience and network, Detmer and friends like Berke Bakay (now Phoenix Rising FC governor) and Didier Drogba (now a Phoenix Rising player and co-owner) formed an investor group to acquire the majority of the club’s stock and lay out a stadium plan.
Detmer then used his CRE knowledge to identify and secure the best land site in the Valley for a new stadium complex at the southeast corner of McKellips Road and McClintock Drive in Tempe.
From there, JLL’s Project Development Services team was tapped to transform 15.84-acres of dirt on the site into a full-service, 6,200-seat, “pop-up” stadium, which is the club’s home field while the MLS expansion is decided.
Today, Detmer is responsible for co-leading the MLS to Phoenix expansion committee, which should know as soon as December if Phoenix Rising will be one of two teams accepted this year as an MLS expansion franchise.
He says, “The focus of our committee is to prove that soccer is thriving in Phoenix and to successfully advance an MLS franchise and permanent, 20,000- to 25,000-seat soccer-specific stadium.”
Detmer’s passion for soccer dates back to his childhood play on American Youth Soccer Organization teams. “Even then, soccer was like family,” he adds. “Our club’s culture is the same.”
At Phoenix Rising games, Detmer is regularly accompanied not only by team colleagues but also by his wife and two children, who enjoy cheering on players and soaking in the energy of the stadium and the club’s fans.
“At JLL and with Phoenix Rising, my goal is to create a better live, work, play environment for Arizona,” he says. “We are grateful for our fans and the support we’ve had in this effort – from Tempe and Mesa Mayors Mitchell and Giles to GPEC President Chris Camacho, and even our wonderful local media. Our Arizona family has been there for every step as we’ve launched Phoenix Rising FC for the Valley.”