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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

U.S. Company Buys Control of CSKA Basketball

The United States-based firm SC Marketing Inc. has acquired a controlling stake in Russia's premier basketball club, CSKA Moscow, in what the club called a historic deal to secure its future.

Chuck Salisbury, president of Irvine, California's SC Marketing Inc., signed the deal for 51 percent of CSKA's men's and women's basketball teams in early June after visiting Moscow to gauge the profit potential of the franchise, his company said in a press release Monday.

The remaining 49 percent is still under the control of the teams' previous owner, the Army sports club. The financial details of the 25-year agreement were not disclosed.

CSKA president Viktor Petrakov said the deal would enable the teams to retain their positions among Europe's basketball elite.

"With this deal we will try not only to bring back most of our former stars but sign at least two or three top players from the United States," Petrakov told The Moscow Times on Monday. "I don't want to say the exact dollar figure of the agrement but, trust me, we're talking major contract here."

The two sides also signed a separate agreement which provides for the lease of CSKA's arena for the next 25 years.

The partnership is quite different from the deal signed between CSKA's hockey team and the National Hockey League's Pittsburgh Penguins several years ago. That deal, which was primarily a licensing and marketing agreement, did not involve the transfer of ownership and lapsed in 1996.

The basketball partnership with SC Marketing does not involve any teams of the National Basketball Association. NBA teams are prohibited from owning clubs outside of the league.

The CSKA men's basketball team, which has won the Russian premier league title for the last six years, has tried unsuccessfully to find a sponsor for two years and earlier this year was unable to pay its players for several months.

The club's shaky financial situation has resulted in the departure of some of the team's top players, many bolting for richer European clubs. After finishing third in the European Champion's Cup in 1996, the team lost four of its five starting players.