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Off The Pitch: Super League collapse proves no deterrent to American investors – they might even be hungrier than everApril 25, 2021
O’Melveny Sports Industry Group co-chair Charles Baker spoke with Off The Pitch regarding the recent collapse of the European Super League, a newly proposed 12-club league that boasted the biggest names in European football, and its ramifications for US investors.
“We are still seeing strong interest by US investors in European football investment. If anything, the breakdown of the Super League should give US investors even more confidence in the stability of the European system to buck any transformative change that would significantly impact financials in an unpredictable manner for the vast majority of clubs,” Baker said. “Not surprisingly, we’re advising both private equity and high net worth investors on these deals now. Also, with the Covid impact on club’s revenue and liquidity, many clubs are in need of capital infusions, which is where the smart money can play a strategic role,” he added.
Despite the failed efforts by American owners to shift European football towards more familiar US league models, the fan-fueled movement to quash the Super League is a signal to investors that ‘soccer’ is a game their money needs to play in.
“We often cite the passion and loyalty of sports fans as one of the key reasons why a group or individual would want to invest in a sports team,” Baker continued. “Here, we have a great example of just how strong that passion is for European football. As a result of the situation leading to the collapse of Super League, it’s certainly possible we see revenues increase across the board as fans become empowered to participate in the ‘governance’ of the leagues through their activism.”
Current owners see no reason to pull out of European football, and new investors see fan enthusiasm as a signal to enter the market, Off The Pitch noted.
“The new opportunity for increased revenue (not to mention the attendant publicity that the Super League triggered), and a number of other factors, should invite a new group of investors. The fans’ passion has never been higher and investors may see the fury surrounding the Super League as an opportunity to capitalize on that passion,” Baker concluded.
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