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银湖资产5亿美元豪赌曼城,欲复制投资戴尔和阿里巴巴的辉煌

银湖资本原来擅长科技投资,现在,它将把自己的业务拓展至英超俱乐部。

 
2019年11月26日,曼彻斯特伊蒂哈德球场,在与顿涅茨克矿工的欧冠C组小组赛赛前,曼城球员列队拍照。图片来源:ALEX LIVESEY-DANEHOUSE—GETTY IMAGES

银湖资本进军英超的大手笔投资一方面体现出了比赛直播价值迅速上扬的趋势,另一方面也表明该公司赌定曼城的亿万球迷蕴藏着巨大商机。

美国私募股权投资公司银湖资本出资5亿美元收购城市足球集团10%的股份。11月27日,两家公司对外披露了该笔交易。在此次交易后,城市足球集团的估值达到了48亿美元,成功跻身全球最值钱的职业体育集团之一。

银湖资本在业界大名鼎鼎,尤其擅长科技投资,曾经参投戴尔以及中国的阿里巴巴。而现在,它将把自己的业务拓展至英超俱乐部。

虽然大型俱乐部仍主要通过出售转播权和商品销售获取收入,但他们也在设法通过使用新技术向球迷出售专享内容赚钱。

各家俱乐部都在开发专门的应用程序,向球迷提供各种独家内容,比如:球员访谈、纪录短片、新闻发布会,甚至还包括比赛集锦。地处伦敦的切尔西足球俱乐部最近开发的一个平台就吸引了众多观众。

去年,曼城与亚马逊的流媒体服务Prime Video合作,推出了一部记录其2018年夺冠之路的8集纪录片,展示了曼城幕后内容的潜在价值。

“英超俱乐部在全球拥有大量的国际观众和球迷群体,在亚洲尤其如此。” Ampere Analysis公司的理查德·布劳顿说。“在英国以外的其他国家可能蕴藏着巨大商机,只是定价要稍微低一些。”

大球会必须谨小慎微,在向球迷提供足够有吸引力的内容的同时,也要避免惹恼给他们带来电视转播收入的联赛。

内容为王

随着线上广告分量的提升,为了吸引广告商,许多媒体公司都盯上了比赛直播,体育转播收入也随之持续飙升。美国大型流媒体平台加入版权竞赛进一步推升了热门赛事的估值。

论对观众的吸引力,鲜有电视节目能够与大型现场体育比赛相匹敌。德勤的一项研究显示,凭借其在国内联赛和欧洲赛场上的强势表现,曼城在2017-18赛季一跃成为全球收入第五高的足球俱乐部。

康卡斯特集团旗下的欧洲付费电视台天空电视台表示,英超联赛近来的观众数较上赛季增加了23%。

11月下旬,曼联的副主席埃德·伍德沃德在与分析师的财报电话会议上表示:“我们对全球足球转播权(收入)的持续增长感到非常乐观。”

长期以来,私募股权投资者一直都对体育俱乐部和体育经纪公司抱有浓厚兴趣。去年,Apax Partners LLP同意收购数据和技术公司Genius Sports,而就在这笔交易发生之前,加拿大养老金计划投资委员会和私人股本公司TCV刚刚收购了另一家体育数据分析公司Sportradar AG的少量股权。2017年,Providence Equity Partners将其在美国职业足球大联盟媒体与营销部门的股份出售给了大联盟,交易金额为其初始投资金额的三倍。

银湖资本正在向体育和娱乐业投入更多资金,投资对象包括奋进集团控股有限公司,该公司旗下拥有体育联赛、时尚活动及诸多顶级运动员和知名艺人。

城市足球集团的年收入为5.35亿英镑(6.88亿美元),而其已经上市的同城对手曼联的年收入则为6.27亿英镑,市值27.5亿美元。尽管曼城是其迄今为止其最重要的投资,但城市足球集团旗下还拥有纽约城市足球俱乐部和墨尔本城市足球俱乐部等多家俱乐部。

城市足球集团在声明中表示,该公司计划将本次交易获得的资金用于海外业务拓展、技术研发以及基础设施投资。在本次交易中,城市足球集团的现有股东均未出售股份,阿布扎比财团仍然是城市足球集团的最大股东。(财富中文网)

译者:梁宇

审校:夏林

Silver Lake’s expensive foray into British soccer reflects the soaring value of live matches and a bet that Manchester City’s hundreds of millions of fans represent a big revenue opportunity.

The U.S. private equity firm is buying just over 10% of City Football Group Ltd. for around $500 million, the companies said on November 27, valuing the club’s owner at $4.8 billion. That’s one of the highest-ever price tags for a professional sports group.

Silver Lake is best known for tech investments such as Dell Technologies Inc. and China’s Alibaba Group Holding Ltd., and could bring that expertise to the English Premier League club.

While the big clubs still make most of their money from broadcast rights and merchandising, they’re looking for ways to use technology to sell privileged access to fans.

Clubs have been developing apps showing exclusive content such as player interviews, short documentaries, press conferences and even match highlights. A platform developed recently by London’s Chelsea Football Club has found an enthusiastic audience.

Manchester City demonstrated the potential value of behind-the-scenes content last year when it partnered with Amazon.com Inc.’s Prime Video streaming service for an eight-part documentary charting the path to its 2018 title win.

“There are large international audiences and fan bases for Premier League clubs, particularly in Asia,” said Richard Broughton of Ampere Analysis. “There is potentially a large and arguably under-served opportunity outside the U.K. – albeit at a lower price point.”

The bigger teams will have to tread a careful path, offering enough to entice fans without upsetting the leagues that bring them TV revenue.

Prized Content

Income from sports broadcasts has been surging since media companies latched onto live sports as one of the remaining ways to bring in advertisers, which are increasingly moving online. The emergence of the big U.S. streaming platforms in rights contests has helped to buoy valuations for the most sought-after content.

Few TV shows can match the audience pulling power of a big live sporting clash. Manchester City was the world’s fifth-highest revenue generating soccer club in the 2017/18 season, according to a study by Deloitte, following a strong run of success in domestic and European competitions.

Comcast Corp.’s European pay-TV unit Sky has said recent Premier League audiences were 23% higher than last season.

“We remain very optimistic for continued increases in global football broadcast rights,” said Manchester United’s Vice Chairman Ed Woodward in an earnings call with analysts at late November.

Private-equity investors have long been drawn to sports clubs and agencies. Last year, Apax Partners LLP agreed to acquire data and technology company Genius Sports, fresh on the heels of a purchase by Canada Pension Plan Investment Board and private equity firm TCV of a minority stake in Sportradar AG, another sports data analysis firm. Providence Equity Partners sold its interest in Major League Soccer’s media and marketing arm back to the league in 2017, tripling its initial investment in Soccer United Marketing.

Silver Lake is plowing more money into sports and entertainment, including an investment in Endeavor Group Holdings Inc., which runs sports leagues, hosts fashion events and represents top athletes and entertainers.

City Football Group has annual revenue of 535 million pounds ($688 million), compared to 627 million pounds for publicly traded cross-town rival Manchester United, whose market value is $2.75 billion. City Football Group also owns clubs including New York City FC and Melbourne City FC, although Manchester City is its most important investment by far.

It plans to use the deal funds to expand its business overseas and develop technology and infrastructure assets, according to a statement. No existing shareholders sold their stake, and Abu Dhabi United Group remains the majority shareholder.

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