SANTA CLARA (CBS SF) — An investment entity affiliated with the San Francisco 49ers, 49ers Enterprises, announced Thursday they have become a minority investor in the English soccer club Leeds United.
49ers Enterprises says it will partner with existing majority shareholder and Leeds United Club Chairman Andrea Radrizzani. The collaboration is part of a wider business alliance between Leeds United’s parent company, Aser, and 49ers Enterprises.
“This strategic partnership enables Leeds United to align with and gain invaluable expertise from the owners of one of the biggest global sports entities,” said Radrizzani. “The 49ers are an innovative, successful organization and we are delighted to have access to such a rich source of business and sporting expertise.”
Radrizzani said the funds invested woould “go towards improving results on the pitch.”
In conjunction with the partnership, Paraag Marathe, President of 49ers Enterprises and Executive Vice President of Football Operations, has assumed a seat on the Leeds United Board of Directors.
“I am particularly pleased to welcome Paraag, to the Leeds United board,” said Radrizzani. “Paraag comes with a wealth of experience. We look forward to working with him and learning from his deep understanding of a sporting giant.”
For the last 18 years, Marathe has served in a number of strategic leadership roles for the 49ers, developing a significant track record in contract management and negotiations along with extensive involvement in the logistical and operational side of running a global sports organization.
“It is truly an honor to be invited to join the board of a football club as storied as Leeds United. I share the vision that Andrea has for returning Leeds United to greatness,” Marathe said.
Such partnerships are not new to the NFL. The Glazer Family that owns the Tampa Bay Bucs also own Manchester United in England’s Premier Soccer League.