American firm eyes Super League stake

By John Davidson

American investment banking firm Park Lane has expressed an interest in potentially buying a stake in Super League.

League Express understands the firm, which is based in the Californian city of Los Angeles, has contacted Super League about possibly investing in the competition.

It is believed Park Lane were referred to Rothschild & Co, the financial advisory company that Super League has contracted to find investors.

Super League declined to comment when contacted by League Express.

Last year it was revealed that Super League had began to sound out potential interest in selling part of its competition in a private equity investment deal.

Private equity firms have bought extensive ownership stakes in sports such as Formula One, football, rugby union and Formula One in recent times.

The Pro14 sold a 28 per cent stake in its competition, worth a reported £120 million last month, while Premiership Rugby sold a minority stake in its competition for a reported £230 million in 2018 and Formula One was sold for $2 billion in 2006.

Park Lane was founded in 2005 by former National Football League (NFL) player Andrew Kline and provides sports finance advisory services to a variety of clients, as well as investing in sports companies.

The firm helps high net worth individuals buy and sell professional sports teams and has worked with clubs in the National Basketball Association (NBA), National Hockey League, Major League Baseball (MLB), Serie A and Major League Soccer.

In 2008 it provided advice on the acquisition of ice hockey franchise Tampa Bay Lightning and in 2010 it assisted with the sale of ice hockey outfit Stockton Thunder. It has also been involved in deals with MLB team the Cincinnati Reds and the NBA’s Golden State Warriors.

In April Kline, the managing director of Park Lane, told Australia’s The Sun-Herald newspaper that his company is interested in purchasing professional sporting teams and competitions in Australia, including in the NRL, AFL, A-League and Super Rugby.

“We have clients who are very interested in Australia, not just purchasing a team, but an entire league,” Kline told the Sun-Herald.

“It’s a great market that we believe in. As a firm, we’re very focused on picking different opportunities up.

“There are opportunities globally.”

Increasing revenue streams and bringing new investment into Super League has been the target of Robert Elstone since he was appointed CEO two years ago.

Park Lane did not respond to a request for comment by League Express.