les milliards pleuvent sur le sport

les milliards pleuvent sur le sport

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At the end of May, a group of American investors disbursed 4.25 billion pounds (5 billion EUR) for the English football club Chelsea, more than double the old record, followed, barely a week later , by another American consortium, which paid 4.5 billion dollars (4.4 billion EUR) to afford the Denver Broncos American football team. The sequence also saw, in June, Olympique Lyonnais taken over by entrepreneur John Textor for a valuation of 798 million euros, unheard of for a French club, and AC Milan go under the banner of the company. American investment company RedBird Capital, for 1.2 billion euros.

“There is no other media content that has the value of sports

“There are really a lot of factors pushing in the same direction”explains Salvatore Galatioto, of the consulting firm Galotioto Sports Partners. first engine, “there is no other media content that has the value of sports“, which is one of the very few programs to still be consumed almost entirely live, underlines the consultant. From the 110 billion dollars offered, in March 2021, to the powerful NFL for eleven years of broadcasting on the American market alone, to the 6.2 billion released for five years to the Indian cricket league IPL, mid-June, the retransmission rights blaze.

Streaming giants and traditional channels

In both cases, the streaming giants, which had long stayed away, have joined the traditional channels. Moreover, in the United States, as is already the case elsewhere, “sports betting will help audiences“, predicts Salvatore Galatioto. “People will watch more games” and “it will increase the value of the content.” In this context, “Acquiring a team is a good way to capture some of this value”adds David Gandler, co-founder and managing director of the online television platform fuboTV.

And as the cake gets bigger, the number of slices remains almost the same. In the past 20 years, the four major American leagues have integrated only two new franchises. This is all the more so as some of the finest assets in the world, in particular FC Barcelona and Real Madrid, will always be inaccessible due to their capital structure. On the demand side, however, “you see more money flowing from institutional investors”essentially funds, describes David Gandler, “whereas before, it was mostly families or wealthy individuals”.

We can change wives, we can change friends, but we can’t change clubs.”

In addition, the single shareholder model, historically dominant in the United States, is no longer so popular. “There are a lot of people who come together to buy clubs”, explains Pascal Rigo, an entrepreneur who recently became a minority shareholder in the football club Paris FC (2nd French div.), which lowers the price of access and increases the population of potential investors. “We mitigate the risk.” The sport also has for him not to be an entertainment like the others, with a potential of loyalty that even Disneyland or the biggest stars of the song can only envy. We can change wives, we can change friends, but we can’t change clubs.”slips, with a smile, Pascal Rigo.

“glamorous side”

A separate object, sport is also a so-called defensive value, that is to say not very sensitive to economic cycles. In 2008/09, recalls Rob Tilliss, of the specialized investment bank Inner Circle Sports, the estimated values ​​of the four major American major leagues fell by only 2%, “when it was one of the worst economic crises in history“. Despite the current economic slowdown, he therefore does not believe more, this time, in a drop in the price of teams. David Gandler, who has also become a minority shareholder in Paris FC, even sees the momentum spreading to other sports, from pickleball, a growing alternative to tennis in the United States, to rugby, European basketball and Asian.

Beyond rational criteria, “the glamorous side” of professional sport also attracts investors, according to Pascal Rigo. And then, he continues, “there is a phenomenon that is similar to not wanting to miss the train”. More than making a profit once in control, the goal is most often, for buyers, to generate a return on investment on resale. But you have to stay for a reasonable length of time”, warns Salvatore Galatioto, who speaks of 5 to 10 years, “sometimes more”. “Trying to do the somersault in two years might not be the best idea“, he concludes.

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