Investments in European soccer by consortiums from the Middle East have forced owners of Manchester United and Liverpool to consider complete and partial sales, according to a Reuters report.
Middle Eastern investment groups have solidified their reach in soccer with high-priced deals, compelling two club owners to seek new investments to compete and drive profits — without having what seems to be unlimited access to funding from the oil industry.
- In 2011, Qatar Sports Investments acquired a 70% stake in Paris Saint-Germain for roughly $67.9 million.
- As of May 2022, the Ligue 1 club was valued at $3.2 billion, the seventh-most-valuable soccer team, per Forbes.
- In 2021, a consortium led by the Public Investment Fund — Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund — purchased Newcastle United for $409 million.
- As of Jan. 23, Newcastle — currently ranked third in the Premier League standings — is valued at $440 million, per Sportico.
The soaring valuations have caught the attention of Liverpool owner Fenway Sports Group and Manchester United owners, the Glazer family. In addition, the $5.2 billion sale of Chelsea in May 2022 to a consortium of investors led by Los Angeles Dodgers, Lakers, and Sparks co-owner Todd Boehly solidified the potential returns of a European soccer club.
The failure of the European Super League — and its accompanying revenue streams — has also forced soccer team owners to consider new investors. In April 2021, a group of major European clubs announced plans to create the Super League, which was met with public outcry.
The league initially offered $3.4 billion in entry bonuses and a winner’s prize of $392 million.