Posted on: September 18, 2022, 07:11h.
Last updated on: September 18, 2022, 07:11h.
As English Premier League soccer team AFC Bournemouth struggles to find its footing, it could soon have a new owner. The man who helped bring ice hockey to Vegas, Bill Foley, is reportedly interested in buying the team.
Kieffer Moore of the EPL soccer team AFC Bournemouth on the field during a game against the Wolverhampton Wanderers in August. Bill Foley, the owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, is negotiating a purchase of Moore’s team. (Image: Getty Images)
The Premier League is one of the richest leagues in the world, moving millions of pounds in recent times. It’s an important market opportunity for entrepreneurs looking for new investments, with several big deals like the Chelsea sale emerging in recent times.
Now, almost half of the teams in the UK’s top soccer flight have US-based owners, either through individuals or companies. Foley, the majority owner of the Vegas Golden Knights, is looking to be the next. He is discussing the possibility with the team’s current owner, Russian Maxim Demin.
Kicking Things Up in the UK
Bournemouth plays in the UK’s first division, currently sitting in 12th place. As revealed by Sky Sports and other media outlets, Foley has shown interest in acquiring 100% of the shares of the team.
A possible purchase figure of more than €170 million (US$170.25 million) emerged. This is similar to the amount Demin put in to stay with the club in 2011. However, that was well before his country decided to invade Ukraine.
Demin’s desire to sell Bournemouth is not new. He has been listening to offers to sell the club for the past year, according to media reports. However, none have been of the caliber of Foley’s, who has already tried to buy a club.
Bournemouth sacked manager Scott Parker last month after just four dates in the Premier League. Its last two games have been losses as the club continues to search for a new manager.
The search is delayed by negotiations with Foley. If everything goes well, the sale of the English club could take place before the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
A few years ago, Foley showed interested in acquiring the shares of French Ligue 1 team Olympique Lyon. In addition, last year, he was involved in early talks with the MLS about bringing a soccer team to Vegas.
However, the deal fell apart and the league is now discussing a new exclusive deal with the owners of Aston Villa, Wes Edens and Nassef Sawiris. Should they reach an agreement, the new team could become the Las Vegas Villains.
More Value for Bournemouth
Bournemouth, which recently signed gaming operator Dafabet as its front-of-shirt sponsor, could benefit from Foley’s involvement. He has helped the Golden Knights improve in value each year and might be able to do the same for Bournemouth.
The NHL team was worth $500 million in 2017, according to Statista. It added $25 million the next year and another $5 million in 2019. Although the value dipped slightly in 2020 (to $570 million), it jumped to $710 million last year.
The performance could also be the result of the involvement of the Maloof family, the founders and former owners of the Palm Casino Resort. The family owns 30% of the Golden Knights.
The negotiations between Foley and Demin are reportedly in the advanced stage. Should the sale get the green light from the Premier League and regulators, Foley Demin could conceivably hand over the keys before this year’s World Cup.