The NBA has opened the door to sovereign wealth funds — and some of the world’s biggest want to buy in.
Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi’s fund Mubadala Capital have both shown interest in NBA teams, according to Bloomberg. The funds have a respective $450 billion and $284 billion in assets under management.
The league’s board of governors voted in December to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy up to 20% of a team, subject to league approval.
The New York Knicks could be a potential match. The team has signaled openness to selling a minority stake and has a connection to Abu Dhabi through Mubadala’s investment in equity group Silver Lake, which is an investor in Knicks owner Madison Square Garden Sports.
The NBA is also planning multiple preseason games in Abu Dhabi this September.
Last year, Mubadala bought 20% of the media rights of the Brazilian Football League for $971 million and invested $50 million in the Supercross World Championship. Meanwhile, the QIA helped fund the 2022 World Cup and owns French soccer giants Paris Saint-Germain.
NBA teams have already welcomed private equity investors, which can own up to 30% of individual teams. The San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Golden State Warriors are among those teams part-owned by private equity firms.