San Francisco increases its stake in Leeds United

©Leeds United

NFL Franchise, the San Francisco 49ers has more than doubled its stake in Leeds United to 37%.

49ers Enterprises originally bought a 15% stake in the then Championship side in May 2018, however this new deal aims to “to support and augment the organisational infrastructure needed to remain competitive in the Premier League”

Paraag Marathe, president of 49ers Enterprises already sits on the board of the club and following this latest deal will become the Leeds United’s vice-chairman.

A 20-year veteran of the sports business, Marathe is also executive vice president of football operations at the American outfit, where he “the team’s chief contract negotiator and salary cap architect”.

The new role at Elland Road will see him “more involved in the decision-making process and day-today operations” according to a club statement.

Andrea Radrizzani, chairman and majority stakeholder in Leeds United said: “It is an important step for the

(L-R) Andrea Radrizzani & Paraag Marathe

club to have an organisation and strong management like the 49ers available to support us in our journey.

“I think the Premier League for us is just the first step on a lang march that we need to enjoy together and there’s so much to do on the pitch and off the pitch and their [49ers] expertise and know how and relationship in America can help our club get closer [to our goals].”

Marathe explained that the process to this point was a three phase one. Starting with getting to know Radrizzani and wanting to “just do something with him”. This led to the 2018 investment which he describes as “dipping our toes in”, stating “at that time we didn’t know too much, we just knew that we trusted and believed in Andrea.”

He added: “There’s something particularly elevated when you come in to watching English football and that is what really inspired us to help take this to the next level.

“Leeds United is today where the 49ers were a decade or 15 years ago when we had gone through some adversity at the [club] and we had just gone through re-envisioning the whole club and how we structured the organisation from a football side on and off the pitch in the 49ers respect, we built a new stadium, we increased our revenues. We went from the bottom tier in terms of revenue and competitiveness to the top tier in that time and all of that was supported by the fact that the 49ers are one of the most powerful clubs in the NFL, one of the most powerful brands in the world. And that is exactly the same with Leeds United.”

The initial partnership between Leeds United and 49ers has already delivered significant results, with the club posting record-breaking commercial revenues, as well as earning promotion to the top flight of English football last season.

Radrizzani however has reaffirmed his commitment to the club stating he wants to give it stability and to help it continue to grow but highlighted that this new “opportunity could be important for the club to inject new funds into the club itself” but also by bringing more expertise.