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Private equity sports investments neared $2 billion in 2021, NBA hot


To protect themselves from injury, the ballboys use gloves to handle warmup basketballs before an NBA match between Atlanta Hawks and Charlotte Hornets on March 9, 2020 at State Farm Arena in Atlanta.

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Investors made tons of money in the U.S. stock market during a 10-year-long bull run that continued until last year.

These returns are not as good as the financial gains from investing in sports, especially the National Basketball Association.

Because of its globalization, the NBA’s price returns are higher than other leagues. This is because the NBA now has a more extensive presence in other markets such as China, where it has more than $5B, and New Zealand. $1 billion NBA Africa venture.

Between 2002 and 2021, the average price return for an NBA team was 1,057% compared to 458% returns on the S&P 500, according to estimates from PitchBook.

Other sports also offered strong returns. PitchBook projects that the Major League Baseball stakes provided a 6699% return on investment from 2002 through 2021 and the National Hockey League returned 467%.

Private equity investors have rushed to get a share of this action. PitchBook estimates that there were more than $1 trillion worth of private equity deals in 2021. About $2 billion was used to purchase equity stakes and franchise shares.

Wylie Fernyhough is PitchBook’s lead analyst for private equity. She said that investors are drawn to the “professionalization” of sports.

Fernyhough stated that deals in PE sport deals for 2021 were “certainly the beginning.” We’ll see many more deals in the future.”

NBA teams getting growth capital

Leagues for sports, such as the NBA Major League SoccerPrivate equity was allowed to invest in the pandemic early on. Private equity was first allowed to invest in the pandemic by Major League Baseball.

We are a 2019 interview with CNBCRob Manfred, MLB commissioner, explained that “Franchise value has increased, and the capital structures within the clubs have become more complex.” It is beneficial to have a fund which is basically passive equity investors in club(s) in order to facilitate sale transactions.

Sixth Street, Dyal Capital Partners and RedBird Capital established funds in 2021 to purchase minority shares of teams. They were attracted by the growing economic value of sports leagues and the increased importance and potential for global expansion.

The NBA’s appeal lies here. Golf, tennis and motorsports all rank as the most international sports. However, the growth of basketball outside the U.S. is accelerating.

Benjamin Chukwukelo Uzoh, 2nd R, Rivers Hoopers, Nigeria, faces Wilson Nshobozwa from Patriots Rwanda in the opening match of the inaugural Basketball Africa League BAL. This was held May 16th, 2021, in Kigali.

Cyril Ndegeya | Xinhua News Agency | Getty Images

2020 saw the NBA announce the Basketball Africa League. This league will be run by its NBA Africa subsidiary. Friction is still present from the 2019 dispute between Daryl Morey and his team, but NBA China continues to operate, with games streaming live on Tencent. It is also targeting India’s large population of over 1 billion people.

The league’s WNBA division received a $75 million boost last week, which reportedly valued the league at $1billion. The WNBA plans to use these funds for the growth of women’s basketball.

Fernyhough called the purchase of minority stakes in NBA clubs an “important” investment, taking into consideration global reach and young fans.

“I think there’s a lot to be optimistic about the NBA,” he said.

Chris Lencheski (chairman of Phoenicia’s private equity consultancy company Phoenicia) agrees.

He said that “The NBA offers a more clear and straightforward path to becoming a global consumer than almost any major league that is stick-and-ball related.”

Lencheski said, “And eventually,” “Within the next twenty years you’ll…” have supersonic travelThe service will enable an NBA team travel anywhere within three hours. This makes it easy to compare the New York Knicks and Madrid. The NBA’s product is perfect for this.

Gerry Cardinale (chief executive officer, Redbird Capital Partners LLC) poses next to the 10-foot tall Incredible Hulk statue in New York on Wednesday November 14, 2018.

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The PE Deals

In 2021, stakes were sold to private equity companies by several NBA teams including the Golden State Warriors and Sacramento Kings as well as San Antonio Spurs.

ReportsArctos has taken a 13% share in the Warriors. This is a $5.6 billion franchise, according to Forbes. Arctos’ shares are valued at more than $700million based upon this value.

Fernyhough explained that the NBA teams have a more high valuation as they anticipate growing more over the next decade. It’s up to you to be sure that it happens at the right price.

PitchBook projects that Arctos spent $3 billion on stakes in several sports clubs including NBA and NHL players, as well Fenway Sports Group ownership of the MLB Boston Red Sox. NHL Pittsburgh Penguins

Dyal, which is a subsidiary of Neuberger Berman Group took a minor stake in the Atlanta Hawks.RedBird was founded by Goldman Sachs ex-managers executive Gerry CardinaleIt made quite a stir with its innovative products. $750 million investmentFenway Sports Group. Additionally, Ares Management CorporationInter Miami CF was purchased for $150 million.

Private companies make money by collecting incentive and management fees. Fernyhough says that the majority of stakes purchased by NBA teams go towards growth capital. It allows them to increase their ability to upgrade facilitates or expand their existing franchises.  

Private equity cannot own more than 30% of a team’s teams. One fund can only have 20% ownership. Fernyhough claimed that no funds are allowed to own more than 30% of teams. “ownership accoutrements”With PE stakes. Instead, those perks – like courtside seats – are reserved for limited partners like Michael DellDirect buyer:

The MLS follows similar guidelines to the NBA with a $20 million minimum investment. MLB does not have an investment limit, but instead evaluates each deal individually.

There is a tax deduction known as “roster depreciation allowance,” allowing sports owners – even limited partners – to delay paying taxes on revenue earned from clubs. Bud Selig was the former MLB commissioner. tax loopholeYou can also own a baseball club.

Fernyhough stated that the pro-sports franchises have transformed from a trophy for wealthy men to display their wealth to a place that is run like a business.

View from the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium in London at 10:01 PM on October 10, 2021.

Matthew Childs | Action Images via Reuters

The Broncos will show you if PE is embraced by the NFL.

The NBA, MLB and NHL have been dominated by private equity, but the National Football League is still on the sidelines. Although the NFL may be looking at capital safety nets for its future, it will likely take some time to determine what those plans are.

Other important issues that need to be addressed by the NFL include the Class Action complaint filed against ex-Miami Dolphins coach. Brian Flores filed last week. That lawsuit claims Dolphins owner Steven Ross offered Flores $100,000 to lose games – a violation of a federal law known as the “sports bribery act.”

Coming Soon Denver Broncos saleThis will prove to be very instructive. Industry sources claim that the NFL might allow private equity firms to participate in this transaction to obtain minority shares.

According to sports bankers, the Broncos could sell for $4 billion. This would represent a record price for an American sports team, exceeding the $2.2 billion that David Tepper paid to purchase the Carolina Panthers.

Fernyhough indicated that private equity would be allowed as part of the NFL deal if an established fund is approved by the league. 

“The NFL won’t likely allow any other firm or group in to purchase stakes,” he stated.