Monday December 4, 2023

Not All Soccer Clubs Love Private Equity

  • Bundesliga teams rejected a proposed deal that would have had private equity firms own 25% of its international media rights.
  • New Zealand's All Blacks rugby team is also battling an attempt to introduce private equity into its revenue stream.
Bundesliga/Design: Alex Brooks
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Bundesliga teams are showing that not all soccer clubs are looking to make a deal.

On Wednesday, Bundesliga and Bundesliga 2 squads voted to suspend talks with private investors for the leagues’ international media rights.

Firms including KKR, Bridgepoint, and CVC Capital were looking to purchase 25% of a new $2.4 billion media company that would hold the rights.

The rejection may indicate a general wariness toward private equity in some sports, due to its role in forwarding the disastrous Super League.

  • Serie A president Paolo Dal Pino faced calls for his resignation from Juventus, Inter Milan, and five other league clubs over his initiative to sell 10% of the league’s media rights to private investors through a new company. 
  • Silver Lake sparked backlash when it attempted to purchase 12.5% of future revenue generated by top New Zealand rugby team All Blacks for $288 million.
  • Similar uproar has not reached the United States: The NBA, MLB, and MLS have all changed their rules in the last two years to allow for more private equity money.

As for the Bundesliga, it remains a defender of the status quo.

Its teams were among the most notable omissions from the dozen that attempted to start the Super League — a decision that quickly proved prescient.

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