Ministry of Sport

US Investment Bank Could Target Australian Sporting Bargains

Los Angeles based investment bank, Park Lane, has indicated it has been in contact with a number of wealthy clients interested in buying Australian sports teams and even entire leagues.

With a lot of Australian clubs and codes carefully navigating the current COVID-19 (Coronavirus) pandemic and fighting to manage finances and remain solvent, Park Lane are reportedly aiming their sights at franchises in the NRL, AFL, A-League and rugby union.

Former St Louis Rams NFL player and Park Lane founder and managing director, Andrew Kline, said in an interview with Sun-Herald his firm had been monitoring the Australian sporting assets long before COVID-19 affected the market.

“We have clients who are very interested in Australia; not just purchasing a team, but an entire league,” Kline said.

“It’s a great market that we believe in.

“We feel like there will be not just heavy Australian investment back in the country, but heavy American investment back in the country.

“As a firm, we’re very focused on picking different opportunities up.

“I can’t say too much, but we always keep a close eye on Australia.

“We were looking at Australian assets before COVID hit and we were interested.

“Now that there has been some steam taken out of the market, we are even more interested.

“While things are price fairly well, we will take a closer look,” he said.

Despite the interest from investors during financial opportunities, the Australian government recently adjusted rules on foreign takeovers to protect strategic assets in the country from being sold off cheaply.

These reports also come following the Financial Times reporting members of parliament have warned distressed companies in aviation, freight and health could become vulnerable to buyouts during this time.

“I guarantee there are teams that are run perfectly and there are teams that can be run much better,” Kline said.

“It’s not like America has all the answers, that’s not how it is.

“Every league and every industry, you have the people who know what they are doing and run a tight ship and you have people who don’t.

“That’s where you find the opportunity.

“I would say right now, prices could get pressed and it’s just a no-brainer to buy.

“The thing about sport is we have some clients who lose $10 million, $20 million, $30 million, $40 million, $50 million on owning a sports team,” he said.

“But what they get, in intangible stuff in being that owner is well worth it.

“You can turn it into a real profit centre too, for a long time.

“There are opportunities globally; this is a tough thing that’s happened, but there will be phoenixes that rise from the ashes.

“People will do very, very well because of this happening.

“We feel strongly the economy will recover and life will go on,” he said.

Kline said the current economic conditions as a result of the Coronavirus pandemic are similar to those during the global financial crisis in 2008, that saw a large number of his clients pick up sporting teams relatively cheaply throughout the NFL, NHL, NBA, MLB and others.

Joshua Hodson

Joshua Hodson