Leeds United owner Andrea Radrizzani has today announced that 49ers Enterprises, the investment arm of the National Football League’s San Francisco 49ers, have increased their ownership stake in the club from 15 per cent to 37 per cent.
The San Francisco 49ers Increase Ownership Stake in Premier League Leeds United
In his statement to the official club website the Leeds owner said: “We are delighted to welcome further investment into our club from 49ers Enterprises and I am confident that this latest partnership will help Leeds United continue to grow and develop into the team our supporters deserve.
“I have always been open to bringing partners on this journey with me, as long as these actions can benefit the long-term strategy of the club. Paraag (President of 49ers Enterprises) and the team at 49ers Enterprises are uniquely positioned to collaborate with myself, Angus Kinnear, Victor Orta and our management team to help us achieve our goals.”
Speaking via their statement, Paraag Marathe President of 49ers Enterprises stated: “Our 49ers Enterprises team has always shared Andrea’s vision for constructing a powerful and winning club in the most competitive football league in the world, and the experience of the last three seasons has been more exhilarating than we could have ever imagined.
“The hard work and bold leadership demonstrated by Andrea and his talented team has restored Leeds United’s rightful place in the Premier League and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in supporting their efforts to climb the table this year and into the future.”
As apart of the new financial deal reached today, Marathe will now serve as the club’s Vice Chairman. Marathe has served on the board since 2018.
Who are 49ers Enterprises?
49ers Enterprises first bought a 15 per cent stake in Leeds back in 2018 for a reported fee of £10 million. They are the investment arm of the San Francisco 49ers, one of America’s most successful American Football Teams. In Forbes 2020 list of the World’s Most Valuable Sports Teams, the 49ers ranked 12th, worth an estimated $3.5 billion.
The investment in Leeds was a result of Leeds owner Andrea Radrizzani’s vision to attract further investment in the club.
Speaking in 2019 Radrizzani said: “I want to be guardian and the leader of this club, but I will not have a closed mind to accept help from other parties.
“In the last 18 months, we received much interest from parties to invest in the club or buy the club. I rejected all the options to buy the club because I did not want to give up. But I will listen to anyone who wants to join me and make this club bigger. I don’t exclude that maybe soon I will open the door to one or two partners to help this club become bigger.”
Since 49ers Enterprises have become involved with Leeds, the club has achieved incredible success both on and off the pitch. Promotion back to the Premier League ended a 13-year absence and this promotion accompanied club record-setting revenue levels. In recent times Leeds have announced sponsorship deals with world-renowned brands such as Amazon, Deliveroo and Uber.
49ers Enterprises are not the first NFL owners who have stakes in Premier League teams. Stan Kroenke owner of the Los Angeles Rams owns a controlling stake in Arsenal and the Glazer family, owners of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have owned Manchester United since 2005.
What This Means for the Future of Leeds United
The increased ownership of 49ers enterprises is another example of Radrizzani not deterring from his overall goal in returning Leeds to the top table of English and European Football. He wants to turn Leeds into a global force and will take on investment if it helps him achieve his aim. Since he bought the club in 2017, he has always denied the rumours that he is looking to sell.
“Because of the job we have done in the last two or three years, we have attracted a lot of interest. Obviously, the club has modernised on a lot of levels, which is shown by our revenues, which have increased a lot to close to £50 million.
“We have to be proud of the club and the fact we are attractive to potential investors. When and if we will open discussions is completely is another story. It depends on the right moment, a moment where I believe we need support to build the club bigger than what we could do with our own resources.”
With the announcement of the increased ownership of his American investors – many will ask whether a slow transition of ownership is now underway. Leeds have already proved that they are one of the most exciting teams on the pitch, today’s news might just make them one of the most exciting off the pitch too.