America makes inroads into Premier League



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Burnley takeover Image: Premier League News Now

America has further expanded its footprints in UK’s Premier League (top level of the English football league system) with the recent takeover of the English association football club Burnley F.C. by Velocity Sports Partners, the sports investment arm of US management firm ALK Capital.

The Burnley deal adds to a slate of American-based majority ownership for fellow Premier League clubs Arsenal F.C., Crystal Palace F.C, Fulham F.C., Liverpool F.C., and Manchester United F.C.

The completion of the deal follows prior reports in September that Pace and ALK Capital were in advanced talks to acquire Burnley following a failed attempt to buy Sheffield United. ALK Capital had previously invested last year in London-based sports technology businesses AiScout and Player Lens.

Burnley Football Club is an English association football club based in Burnley, Lancashire. Founded on May 18th, 1882, it was one of the first to become professional, and subsequently put pressure on the Football Association to permit payments to players. Their home ground is Turf Moor.

Twenty teams battle it out in the top flight Premier League every season vying for the English champions crown. A total of 49 football clubs have participated in the league matches since inception in 1992.

Burnley is currently playing its fifth consecutive season in the Premier League. The Premier League team is considered to have huge scope for growth and their average position since being promoted from the championship is 12 and it also has one of the lowest wage bills.

ALK Capital is a cutting-edge investment firm which concentrates on sports, finance and investment.

Velocity Sports Partners, the sports investment arm of ALK Capital, first venture into UK sport has cost the company pounds 200 million ($273.1m) with a controlling stake of 84 percent shares.

Wall Street expert Alan Pace – who is ALK Capital’s Managing Partner – is now the Burnley Club Chairman, succeeding Burnley’s outgoing Chairman and Director, Mike Garlick. Pace has held several senior Wall Street roles and formerly was Chief Executive of Major League Soccer’s (MLS’s) Real Salt Lake, and is considered to have helped lead that club to the 2009 MLS Cup title.

Pace remarked, “Today marks a new era for Burnley as we become stewards of this historic football club and build on the impressive work that Mike Garlick, [Manager] Sean Dyche, and everyone at Burnley has done to make it a financially stable, established Premier League club that is a cornerstone of the local community.”

“With a rich heritage, a brilliant academy, and a passionate fan base, this club has solid foundations to build upon. This investment represents a natural progression for Burnley Football Club. In Alan Pace and his team, we are welcoming committed investors to Turf Moor who will be living here in the local community and investing in the club, both on and off the football pitch, for many years to come. My tenure as Chairman has always been about ensuring that Burnley is a sustainable football club, and this investment provides a long-term plan to maintain that philosophy, whilst driving evolution and innovation,” Garlick added.

Garlick and former shareholder John Banaszkiewicz will remain on the reconstituted Burnley Board of Directors. ALK Capital’s earlier forays in UK were investments into London-based sports software businesses AiScout and Player Lens.

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