Football club investment deals up more than a quarter in last year

Published on 04 December 2023

Investors seeking to make immediate impact with capital for stadia, training facilities and infrastructure key

Highly-anticipated Manchester Utd deal latest move in multi-sport structures

The number of investment deals targeting European football clubs and football leagues  are up by 29% over the last year, new research from international law firm RPC shows.

Thirty-six deals were concluded in the year ending October 18 2023, up from 28 the previous year.

The increase in these deals is being driven by continued interest by private equity funds and Sovereign Wealth Funds.

Josh Charalambous, Partner in the Sports group at RPC, says that investors are still seeing investment in football as growth opportunities.

European football clubs have a lot to offer in terms of eyeballs and growth, but many of them need investment to realise their potential.

Josh Charalambous says: “Recent deals such as Chelsea and Newcastle have set new benchmarks for the value of football businesses – encouraging the last generation of football club owners to sell.”

Analysts anticipate that Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s investment in Manchester United will be finalised in the coming days.

Ratcliffe has said that his investment in Manchester United will include £245m earmarked for redevelopment and improvement of Old Trafford.

Josh Charalambous remarks: “Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s imminent investment in Manchester United contains hallmarks of what we are seeing across the full range of European football investments.  On one side, the capital injection is intended to have a big impact on the stadium – an area that many fans have said has lacked investment in recent years.”

“The expectation is that other clubs who have been the subject of deals, such as Burnley, Birmingham and Leeds, will also see substantial investment in their playing squads as well as their infrastructure, processes and facilities to seek to maximise opportunities for growth. Their new investors have the capital to invest and can bring an increased professionalisation and growth to the behind-the-scenes operations: the clubs’ needs are clear.”

RPC says that multi-club and multi-sport investments remain a major part of the football investment market, with previous research from the firm showing 15 multi-club deals in the year to March 31 2023, up from nine in the previous 12 months.

Josh Charalambous explains: “Multi-club and multi-sport investments are also a major area of activity – Manchester United will have an investor with significant interests in OGC Nice of Ligue 1 in France, the Mercedes-AMG Petronas F1 team, the Ineos Grenadiers cycling team, as well as Ineos Britannia in sailing.

“We can also continue to expect ongoing and increased investment targeted at the growth of women's football, as well as investments involving high-profile sports stars." 

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