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Every PE connection to Europe’s top football clubs

Investors have pushed into the niche asset class, snapping up stakes in multiple teams at a time when many clubs are in financial straits from pandemic-era losses.

More than a third—37 of 96—of European football clubs in the “Big Five” leagues this season have financial backing from private equity, venture capital or private debt firms.

These investors, whose assets under management have ballooned in recent years, have pushed into the niche asset class at a time when many clubs are in financial straits due to lost revenues during the pandemic. Last year, dealmakers invested €4.9 billion (about $5.3 billion) in Europe’s five largest football leagues, up from just €66.7 million in 2018.

The rise in private backers has coincided with a sharp uptick in multi-club owners. These so-called MCOs own stakes in 41.7% of the Big Five clubs in the 2023-2024 season, up from 36.7% in the previous season. The most active MCOs tend to be US investors, which are now ubiquitous in many of Europe’s Big Five leagues.

Football’s governing bodies are reacting to the developments with ownership rules, but that hasn’t stopped the flow of mega-deals this year. Miami-based 777 Partners is working to close a deal for English Premier League team Everton FC worth £550 million (around $686 million). And Ares Management reportedly plowed $500 million into Chelsea FC this year following the English club’s mammoth £2.5 billion buyout in 2022.

This dashboard tracks every connection between Europe’s elite football clubs and VC, PE and private debt firms and partners. Did we miss something? Send feedback.

 

Featured image of Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Arsenal FC by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

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