21 Nov 2023

Auckland granted A-League licence

6:25 pm on 21 November 2023
The now defunct Auckland based New Zealand Knights were a predecessor to the Wellington Phoenix in the A-League.

The last A-League side to represent Auckland was the Knights which ceased in 2007. Photo: Photosport

A new sports franchise is coming to Auckland.

The long awaited entry of an Auckland A-Legaue team was officially confirmed today with a full A-League licence granted to American billionaire Bill Foley

Foley will enter a team in the 2024 -League season, based in Auckland.

It's been 17 years since the city had a side in the Australian League, with the Football Kingz from 1999-2004 and the New Zealand Knights 2004-2007.

Bill Foley is a sports fanatic.

He owns Bournemouth in the EPL and started the Las Vegas Black Knights in 2017, who won the Stanley Cup last year.

Foley made his first investments in New Zealand in 2008 and his companies currently employ more than 500 Kiwis across the country.

"It's an honour to bring a top football club to Auckland," Foley said.

"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 in the Northern region. It's a special place and an area that I know will embrace this team."

In addition to financing the new club Foley has committed to provide the investment and resources necessary to quickly build a competitive environment.

Foley has hired Auckland native Nick Becker as the new club's Chief Executive Officer, leading the business endeavours, and will announce football leadership in the near future.

The name of the franchise is yet to be announced, but Foley did offer a bit of a clue.

"We really go through a process, and we have to make sure that whatever name we pick is going to represent New Zealand and Auckland. I have a special name I like because my alma mater are the Black Knights and black is a strong, strong statement in New Zealand. but we have a lot of other ideas on names, so it will take us a process."

As well as a mens team, the franchise will field a womens team in the 2025-26 A-League Womens competition.