BORDEAUX In England, especially, in France and in Italy also, investors from the United States, individuals or investment funds, are increasingly interested in the economics of football.
In England, Arsenal, Fulham, Liverpool and Manchester United: four Premier League clubs are held by u.s. owners. The four investors are heavily involved in american sports and therefore see the football as an extension of their core business.
Fenway Sports Group owns and, in addition to Liverpool, a stable of Nascar and one of the greatest baseball team with the Boston Red Sox (MLB).
The empire of Stan Kroenke includes Arsenal, the Los Angeles Rams (NFL), Colorado Avalanche (NHL) and the Colorado Nuggets (NBA).
About the family Glazer, it has in its portfolio of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL), and Manchester United.
About Shahid Kahn has the Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL), and Fulham.
Given the money that brews English football, many businessmen in the us were also invested in clubs of a lower calibre.
And in the second division, Swansea City is the property of Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien, who also hold the DC United (MLS). An investment for the time being largely successful, as the club welsh have been relegated from the Premier League last season. Ditto to Sunderland, now in D3 and ironed under English flags in April.
Other purchase not cost-effective, Paul Berylson at Millwall. This investor had acquired the club in a popular district of London in the context of a major urban renewal project. This has not worked, but he became a fan and therefore remained at the head of the “Lions”.
Finally, the former CEO of Disney Michael Eisner has bought the former glory Portsmouth, now in D3 but still is one of the most popular clubs in the south of England. The one who had been converted to a Disney half-dead into a powerful multinational entertainment intends to do the same with “Pompey”.
AC Milan is from July 10, the property of the american fund Elliott. It had granted loans very important (around 330 million euros) to the previous owner, the Chinese Yonghong Li. Faced with the inability of the latter to repay its debt, the club has changed hands.
From the first day, Elliott is committed to take necessary measures to ensure the financial stability of the Milan, a club who for many years loses each season, tens of millions of euros.
The fund is harnessed by injecting liquidity and curtailing the debt, with a capital increase of 50 million euros between August and September and the early repayment of two bonds of a total value of € 120 million announced on Tuesday.
The american owner has also completely redesigned the executive team, with the arrival of Leonardo and Paolo Maldini in the management of sport, and Ivan Gazidis for the position of managing director.
The very nature of the fund Elliott makes it unlikely a presence in the very long term in Milan.
“This is a medium-term project. The fund is expected to remain at the head of the Milan, between three and five years”, had explained in September the interim president Paolo Scaroni. The goal is to straighten out the club financially and sportingly and then put it back on the market.
Elsewhere, the american businessman James Pallotta, also a shareholder of the Boston Celtics, is the president of the ACE Rome since August 2012. Since August 2014, he is also the owner of 100%. Based in Boston, and this very occasionally in Rome, he helped to modernize the club and has “americanized”, providing methods of work and collaborators who came from the other side of the Atlantic.
In Serie B, the club of Venice, is the property of Joe Tacopina, a lawyer for american. He is also the president of the club, that he picked up in the 4th division in 2015, which is now in the second division.
In addition to Bordeaux, which will soon pass under the control of the investment fund GACP, three French clubs are linked to american investors: Nice, whose majority shareholders are an investor group sino-american. The host club Le Havre, property from July 2015 to the man of affairs Vincent Volpe. It had actual ties to the Haven, since he arrived there 25 years ago and that there has long led the plant to its group of robotics Dresser Rand.
Finally, Marseille was purchased in October 2016 by the former owner of the Dodgers, Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball club, the american businessman Frank McCourt. The billionaire, real estate developer originally from Boston, Massachusetts, has paid around 45 million euros to offer the only French club to have won the champions League, in which it committed to invest 200 million euros over four years.
In la Liga, no club major is passed under the control of north america. Real Madrid, FC Barcelona or Athletic Bilbao have in the past had a status of an association being “socios” (supporters-shareholders) the owners inviolable.
If several first division clubs are brought under control asian (Valencia, Espanyol…), it is necessary to go in the second division to find the trace of a u.s. shareholder: Robert Sarver, owner of the Phoenix Suns (NBA), and the former star of basketball Steve Nash is included in a group of investors that acquired in 2016 the RCD Mallorca, in the Balearic islands, for approximately 20 million euros.