49ers Enterprises, the investment branch of the five-time Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers, reached an agreement with Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani to take over the football club on Friday night.
Although officially undisclosed, the deal to purchase Radrizzani’s 56% stake in the recently relegated football club is thought to be for £170 million ($214 million).
Originally purchasing a 15% stake in Leeds in 2018, 49ers Enterprises increased that amount to 44% in 2021 – but still left Radrizzani, who bought the club for £45 million ($57 million) in 2017, with majority control.
“Both parties continue to work through the details, and further updates will be provided soon,” said Leeds United in a statement on their website.
“All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League.”
NBA players Larry Nance Jr. of the New Orleans Pelicans and T.J. McConnell of the Indiana Pacers are joining the new ownership group as minority investors.
The San Francisco 49ers and Leeds United aren’t the first NFL franchise and English football club to be connected by ownership. The Los Angeles Rams and Arsenal are owned by Stan Kroenke, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Manchester United are owned by the Glazer Family, and Shahid Khan owns the Jacksonville Jaguars and Fulham.
49ers Enterprises’ takeover of Leeds United also creates collaboration opportunities between the two teams. The 49ers, as one of the franchises awarded marketing access to the UK as part of the NFL’s Global Markets Program, may look to partner with the football club for fan activation events, or even the use of Elland Road, Leeds’ ground, for a game.
The NFL has announced the expansion of their Global Markets Program – previously known as the International Home Marketing Areas program – which allows 21 teams the chance to grow their fanbases in 14 different international markets ?#Decyfr #NFL pic.twitter.com/GhBwhG22sR
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) May 23, 2023
“I think there’s the potential for a Grand Prix-like tour of the NFL around the world,” said Sky Sports’ Neil Reynolds at the 2021 NFL London Games, addressing the likelihood of NFL games being held in different venues across the UK.
“What’s to say the [Tampa Bay Buccaneers] don’t want to play a game at Old Trafford?”
Although Elland Road’s capacity may be an issue – it holds 37,608 compared to the 49ers’ Levi’s Stadium’s 68,500 – with the purchase of Leeds, the overall chances of them working with the 49ers, and the NFL, have increased significantly.
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