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Failed Super League proposals will not put American Premier League owners off

Carl Markham, PA
·3-min read

Current and future American Premier League owners will not be deterred by the failure of the European Super League proposals as there is too much money still to be made, according to a leading finance expert.

The planned breakaway by English football’s ‘Big Six’ clubs Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham and Arsenal collapsed on Tuesday in the face of almost unanimous opposition.

However, that will not affect the business models of current owners like the Glazer family at United, Fenway Sports Group at Liverpool, Stan Kroenke at Arsenal or others who see the money involved, according to Simon Chadwick, global professor of Eurasian sport at Emlyon Business School.

“I think US owners probably now realise there are some limits to their ambitions,” he told the PA news agency.

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“They are not blind, they are not stupid, they do realise the North American model of sport is very different to the European model.

“The idea they stumbled into this without understanding European sport is nonsense but what they do realise is there are limits and constraints but they will see their investments being long term.

“They seem to be the kind of people who don’t just buy one day and sell the next in the hope of making a profit, they see a strategy ahead which will enable them to build financial value through the assets they own in English football.

“They will still make their money but maybe they will make a bit less than anticipated or it will take them a bit longer but they will still make their money.”

Only last month private investment firm RedBird Capital bought a 10 per cent stake in Liverpool for a reported £538million.

They are unlikely to be the last to go on a transatlantic shopping trip, although there are other wealthy regions which are looking to get involved.

And that is likely to mean a project like the Super League is only postponed not abandoned.

“What they will do is take advantage financially of the latest set-up for the Champions League and will wait until the timing is right and the Super League idea will come back again,” added Prof Chadwick.

Manchester United fans make their feelings known
Manchester United’s owners have apologised (Martin Rickett/PA)

“It is just a motorway service station on a long journey towards the further industrialisation and commercialisation of football.

“It is not a matter of if the Super League proposal will come back, it is a matter of when and in what form.

“I think short to medium term the trend seems to be for US private equity investments being a principal source of new revenue into the game.

“The reason we have seen an influx of US investors in the last year into European football is principally because of the potential revenue streams they are anticipating from over-the-top broadcasting services (like Netflix and Amazon).

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“This is a trend that pervades the whole world. What UEFA are trying to do, what Juventus and Fenway Sports Group are trying to do is trying to steal a march on one another to make sure they get as much of the share of the revenues from OTT broadcasting and other developments that will come.

“This is not going away any time soon. It will be sustained by the pandemic and changes in broadcast technology but I don’t think it will be inconceivable there will be interest from elsewhere in the world.

“Once the World Cup has gone apart from Paris St Germain what is left for Qatar in football? We could see the Saudi Arabians come again.

“It’s not inconceivable we see investment from India. Also Disney, Netflix, Amazon. I don’t think yesterday’s events drew to a conclusion an era in football most of us questioned.”