This new deal also sees Parag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises — who has had a seat in the Leeds United Board since the 49ers made their initial investment in Leeds United in 2018, become the Vice President of the football club.
Italian entrepreneur Andrea Radrizzani, who is the Chairman of Leeds United, will continue to be the majority stake owner in the English football club.
Talking about the new investment and the increase in stake for the 49ers, Radrizzani 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.”
The latest announcement is a step forward in the strategic partnership that took flight in 2018 between the 49ers, who have won 5 Super Bowl Championships and Leeds United.
— San Francisco 49ers (@49ers) 1611592124000
“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 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,” Radrizzani further said.
For Marathe, a seasoned sports executive, this was a logical step forward. Marathe incidentally is also the Chairman of USA Cricket. He was unanimously elected to the post in October 2018. At that time he had served 18 years with the 49ers.
“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,” said Marathe as part of the press release sent out by the 49ers to announce the new deal on Monday.
“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.”
Since the first investment made by the 49ers in 2018, Leeds United have grown as a football club both on and off the field. Apart from the commercial revenues aspect of the game, the club, which established itself as a powerhouse inEnglish football in the early 1970s, have also returned to the Premier League (from the English Football League Championship) this season after a 16-year absence, under Argentinian coach Marcelo Biesla.
“Now that we have achieved promotion and made a positive start to the new campaign, there is no better time to be looking ahead to the future, as we aim to take this football club to the next level, initially by becoming an established Premier League side before chasing our dreams of taking Leeds United back into Europe,” Radrizzani added.
“We must also be focused on reaching our potential commercially and developing Elland Road and our training facilities.”
(Andrea Radrizzani, Chairman of Leeds United FC – Reuters Photo)
According to the announcement made on Monday, Marathe, along with 49ers Enterprises Vice President Collin Meador and other 49ers personnel, will now be ‘more involved in the decision-making process and day-to-day operations of the club moving forward, both in football and business operations’.
It’s a role that Marathe is all too familiar with, having performed duties along the same lines for the last 20 years with the 49ers. He will also continue to be on the Leeds United Board of Directors.
This latest development is also another significant sign of just how much American investors and particularly NFL owners are eyeing English football.
The Tampa Bay Buccaneers, for example, are owned by the Glazer family, who have overall ownership and control of Manchester United. Fulham FC is owned by American businessman Shahid Khan, who also owns the NFL team the Jacksonville Jaguars. Last year an American firm bought an 84% majority stake in Burnley. Liverpool FC is controlled by American sports company, Fenway Sports Group, who also own the Major League Baseball team in America, the Boston Red Sox.