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PE firms takes keen interest in professional sports sector and Kansas City Southern rejects nearly $20 billion buyout offer from an investor group led by Global Infrastructure Partners and Blackstone Group.


Private equity has flirted with sports investing over the years, but it’s never become a major focus for most firms, Instead, what we’ve seen are individual private equity magnates like Josh Harris of Apollo Global Management who use their own wealth to invest in franchises.

Could the pandemic lockdown, with its significant impact on professional sports leagues, cause private equity firms to take a closer look at investing in sports? Certainly, leagues could use capital infusions to make up for the loss of revenue through delayed seasons, loss of fans on site and muted advertising.

Karishma Vanjani takes a look at the strategy on PE Hub today. Firms like Redbird Capital Partners, Dyal Capital Partners and Arctos Sports Partners are specifically targeting sports investing. The question is, will other firms follow?

While these recent examples show the growing enthusiasm for professional sports leagues, the industry overall has been slow to push into sports investing. Sky-high valuations coupled with stringent industry regulations in exchange for a small slice of ownership have kept most PE firms at bay, industry experts told PE Hub.

“It’s a significant amount of money,” said Steven Smith, a leading sports lawyer at law firm Bryan Cave Leighton Paisner. “Are you willing to put in, let’s say, $300 million in one investment over something you don’t have control over?”

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Pam Harris, former director in investor relations at TA Associates, joined Abry Partners as chief investor relations officer in July, according to her LinkedIn profile. Earlier, Harris worked as director at Sowood Capital Management from 2004 to 2007, her profile said.

One of the biggest buyouts processes this summer can’t seem to get on track. Kansas City Southern rejected a nearly $20 billion buyout offer from an investor group led by Global Infrastructure Partners and Blackstone Group, Wall Street Journal reported.