Providence Equity sells back stake in Soccer United Marketing

Providence Equity Partners has sold its stake in Soccer United Marketing (SUM) back to SUM. Financial terms weren’t announced. Providence invested in SUM in 2012, reportedly paying $150 million for a 25 percent stake. Soccer United Marketing is the marketing arm of Major League Soccer.


NEW YORK, NY and PROVIDENCE, RI – June 19, 2017 – Major League Soccer (“MLS”) and Providence Equity Partners (“Providence”) today announced that Soccer United Marketing (“SUM”) has repurchased Providence’s ownership stake in SUM, the media and marketing arm of MLS. Providence originally made the investment in January 2012. Financial terms were not disclosed.

“It has been an honor supporting MLS and SUM’s remarkable growth over the past five years,” said Jonathan Nelson, Founder and CEO of Providence. “By combining the most popular sport in the world with the largest media market in the world, we knew MLS had a unique opportunity. Don, his team, and the ownership group have exceeded all expectations in driving the league’s growth in teams, attendance, viewership, and sponsors – all while investing in the quality of the game and the experience for fans. With its solid financial footing and growth trajectory continuing, we expect MLS and SUM to keep on exceeding expectations, and we wish them great success.”

“Major League Soccer has seen tremendous growth since 2012,” said MLS Commissioner Don Garber. “We would like to thank Jonathan and his team at Providence for their support and contributions over the last five years. We are a healthier and stronger business because of their investment.” Providence has been the only outside investor in SUM. In addition to providing capital, Providence has served on SUM’s Board of Governors, contributing to strategic decision making. During this time, MLS has seen increases in attendance, viewership, sponsor revenue and significantly grown its fan base. The league’s success and broad appeal has also led to a significant increase in its domestic and international media rights fees. MLS has welcomed six new Clubs over this period, and recently announced that 12 ownership groups and markets have submitted official applications for the League’s next round of expansion. MLS will add four expansion teams in the coming years, growing to 28 clubs. About Providence Equity Partners Providence is a premier global private equity and credit investment firm with more than $50 billion in capital under management. Providence pioneered a sector focused approach to private equity investing with the vision that a dedicated team of industry experts could build exceptional companies of enduring value. Since the firm’s inception in 1989, Providence has invested in more than 160 companies and is the leading equity investment firm focused on the media, communications, education and information industries. Providence’s previous and current sports media investments include Learfield, Ironman, PADI, YES Network, Topgolf, EZLINKS, and Blue Star Sports. Providence is headquartered in Providence, RI and also has offices in New York, London, and Hong Kong. For more information, please visit About Major League Soccer Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer features 22 clubs throughout the United States and Canada. For more information about MLS, visit About Soccer United Marketing Soccer United Marketing (SUM) is the preeminent commercial soccer enterprise in North America, overseeing the marketing, promotion and operational execution of the region’s most successful soccer entities. SUM holds the exclusive commercial rights to Major League Soccer and the United States Soccer Federation, as well as promotional, operational and marketing rights to Mexican National Team games played in the United States, in addition to the CONCACAF Gold Cup™ and the 2016 Copa America Centenario™. Since its creation in 2002, SUM has also executed successful U.S. tours for European giants such as FC Barcelona and Manchester United, as well as Mexico’s popular Chivas Guadalajara. Over the years, SUM has worked with the world’s top national teams and clubs, including Argentina, Brazil, Portugal and Spain, as well as Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Club America and AS Roma.