‘The Niners’ increase stake in ‘United’


49ers increase stake in Leeds United Image: Leeds United

The English professional football club – Leeds United Football Club (UK) – and the American football team San Francisco 49ers – led by Chairman Andrea Radrizzani (of Leeds United) and CEO Jed York (of 49ers), respectively, have announced a new investment by 49ers Enterprises, an entity affiliated with the National Football League (NFL) team, bringing the total minority ownership stake in Leeds United Football Club to 37 percent.

This new investment sees Paraag Marathe, 49ers Enterprises President and current Leeds United Football Club Board Member, become Vice-Chairman of the Premier League side.

Leeds United Football Club is an English professional football club based in the City of Leeds, West Yorkshire (UK). The club was formed in 1919 following the disbanding of Leeds City by the Football League and took over their Elland Road Stadium. The Premier League team’s residence is the 37,890-capacity Elland Road Stadium.

The San Francisco 49ers are a professional American football team based in the San Francisco Bay Area (US). They compete in the National Football League (NFL) as a member of the league’s National Football Conference West division. The NFL team’s home facility is the 68,500-capacity Levi’s® Stadium in Santa Clara, California.

Remarked Radrizzani, “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.”

Added Radrizzani, “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.”

This latest announcement builds on a strategic partnership and equity stake initiated in 2018 when 49ers Enterprises purchased 15 percent stake of the club from Andrea Radrizzani. The Chairman and controlling owner of Leeds United since 2017, Radrizzani remains the majority stakeholder of the English Premier League (EPL) club.

Marathe added, “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. 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.”

The three years of partnership between Leeds United and 49ers Enterprises has seen the club grow significantly, posting record-breaking commercial revenues, as well as earning promotion to the English Premier League (EPL) (top level of the English football league system) from the Championship League (annual club football competition contested by top-division European clubs) during the 2019-20 seasons.

Radrizzani continued, “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. We must also be focused on reaching our potential commercially and developing Elland Road and our training facilities.”

Marathe – supported by 49ers Enterprises Vice-President, Collin Meador, and other key 49ers personnel – will be more involved in the decision-making process and day-to-day operations of the club moving forward, both in football and business operations as he has done for the 49ers for the last 20 years and maintains his place on the Leeds United Board of Directors.

Throughout his tenure with the 49ers, Marathe has served in a number of strategic leadership positions for the NFL franchise. As Executive Vice-President of Football Operations, Marathe is well-respected in contract management and negotiations with extensive experience running all aspects of a global sports organization. While serving as 49ers Chief Operating Officer and team President, Marathe oversaw the innovative design and construction process of Levi’s® Stadium – the internationally recognized state-of-the-art home of the 49ers.

Marathe added, “We are increasing our investment in Leeds United now to support and augment the organizational infrastructure needed to remain competitive in the Premier League. We are committed to doing all we can to help the club compete for championships against the best football clubs in the world while providing an elevated supporter experience at Elland Road.”

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