TPG Capital, who are working on a £300 million cash injection into the English Football League (EFL), has moved to acquire a former BBC executive to head the operation.
Dominic Coles, who took control of the BBC’s coverage of the highly successful London Olympics, will now look to assist the private equity firm with their proposal to purchase a 20 per cent stake in the EFL’s commercial rights.
TPG Capital saw their opening £300 million bid rejected by the EFL, in the midst of an ongoing argument surrounding the present and future of the financial structure in the English footballing pyramid, which has seen the inception of Project Big Picture come into the forefront.
Clubs within the EFL have spoken openly about the financial difficulties they find themselves in, after seeing the end of last season cancelled and the opening fixtures of the 2020/21 season being played behind closed doors thus far due to the Covid-19 crisis, something that looks set to continue.
It is thought that Dominic Coles has been brought in because of his experience negotiating sports rights deals, where reportedly it is felt by TPG that the EFL’s broadcast rights are currently undervalued and in future negotiations believe they could command a much higher fee.
The partnership between TPG and Coles has already seen the conception of an idea surrounding an operational service centre that will be able to assist in multiple different areas, including security, data analytics, customer relationship management, merchandising and ticketing.
Furthermore, plans have been made for where the £300 million injection will be distributed to, with a large proportion of the investment set to be delivered upfront for the member clubs, who have taken a significant financial hit in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic. The remainder will be invested into long-term growth initiatives to aid in the financial security of clubs in the EFL.
iFollow, the EFL’s streaming service, could also see an investment, with TPG eyeing the platform as an area that would benefit from funding.
However, TPG are not the only private equity firm said to be lining up an offer for the EFL and there are suggestions being reported that an auction could commence in the coming months, similar to that seen in the Italian Serie A over the summer.
A football industry insider has told Sky News that the proposed £300 million offer for a 20 per cent stake in the EFL’s commercial rights was “significantly undervalued”.
Author: Jake Wilkin