May 21, 2024

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Sources: The Qatar Investment Authority is close to buying a stake in Wizards, Capitals, Mystex

Sources: The Qatar Investment Authority is close to buying a stake in Wizards, Capitals, Mystex

The NBA, NHL and WNBA are about to be the first professional sports leagues in North America to receive investment from a sovereign wealth fund. Sources familiar with the deal said the Qatar Investment Authority, the country’s sovereign wealth fund, is about to buy a stake in Monumental Sports and Entertainment, the parent company of the Washington Wizards, Washington Capitals and Washington Mystics. the athlete.

It’s a small serving, according to a person familiar with the matter. The value of the Monumental deal is estimated at $4 billion. Monumental’s portfolio also includes the Capital One Arena and its new RSN, Monumental Sports Network.

In November 2022, the NBA Board of Governors decided to allow passive, non-controlling, and minority investments in NBA teams by institutional investors, including university endowments, foreign and domestic pension funds, and sovereign wealth funds, according to a set of policy guidelines adopted at the time. NBA spokesman Mike Bass said in a statement to the athlete. All of these investments require league review, NBA Board approval, and policy compliance.

The NBA Board is currently reviewing a potential investment by QIA in Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the parent company of the Washington Wizards, among other sports properties. According to the policy, if approved, the QIA will have a passive minority investment in the team, without participation in its operations or decision-making.”

Monumental Sports and Entertainment declined to comment the athlete.

It will be the first time that there is direct investment in a team in the leagues by a wealth fund representing the government of another country.

The NBA changed its rules late last year to allow sovereign wealth funds the ability to buy into its teams, and expand the types of investors who can do so, after opening the doors to private equity firms in 2020. Those funds can own no more than 20 percent of a stake. team, and for sovereign wealth funds, only one fund is allowed to buy into an NBA team in each country and own shares in only one team, according to a source familiar with the league’s bylaws on the matter.

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The WNBA follows the same rules regarding sovereign wealth fund investments as the NBA.

A senior NHL source said the NHL has never blocked investment by a sovereign wealth fund the athlete. All that is required is the approval of the Association’s Board of Trustees. In addition, the fund’s share cannot exceed 20 percent in the team. The NHL’s Board of Governors Executive Committee has already approved the sale.

The changes were seen as a way for the leagues to continue increasing the value of their teams. Ratings have skyrocketed over the past decade, especially for NBA teams. Phoenix Suns sold in February for $4 billion. A 25 percent stake in the Milwaukee Bucks was sold at a $3.5 billion valuation in April.

Commissioner Adam Silver spoke last Thursday about his thoughts on the state’s investment in the sport during an appearance on “The Dan Patrick Show,” when asked about the financial agreement between the PGA Tour and the Saudi Arabia-owned Public Investment Fund, which includes the merger of the tour and LIV Golf, which is owned by the investment fund. the public.

“When Saudis invest in sports, it gets a lot of attention,” Silver said in response to a question about the merger. “Now, I don’t want to complain about that because we want to get a lot of attention. On the one hand, anyone can go further down the list there. They’re investors in some of our biggest American companies. Some of the most well-known brands have investments in them. I also think it’s Saif Double-edged.

“I hear the comments about sport. On the one hand, you talk about it, and others talk about it. … In the same way, the World Cup — the soccer World Cup, the soccer World Cup — has brought a lot of interest to Qatar. I think people are learning about these countries And they get to know what’s going on in the world in ways they wouldn’t otherwise.So I think the media is doing its job.

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“But…we’re talking now specifically about the NBA, where we’re a global sport, I think people are a little bit dismissive these days about the benefits that come from commonalities around the sport. That with a sport like basketball — our Finals are roughly distributed in Everywhere in the world, and sport is played everywhere in the world – it’s an opportunity to bring people together.”

Qatar has been heavily involved in sports over the past decade. In 2012, another Qatari fund, Qatar Sports Investments Company, bought the French football club Paris Saint-Germain which it had built into a powerhouse. Last year, QSI bought a stake in Portuguese soccer team SC Braga. In January, the Financial Times reported that there was interest in buying the Premier League team.

The 2022 World Cup was held in Qatar last winter. The competition took place amid controversy as FIFA held the event in a country with high-profile human rights issues, where homosexuality is illegal, and where expat labor was used to build its stadium. At least 500 workers have died since 2014 in accidents on World Cup construction sites.

Monumental Sports has been run by Ted Leonsis, who has owned the Capitals since 1999 and the Wizards, their combined arena, since 2010. Leonsis has reportedly pushed for the NBA to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy stakes in its teams, according to Sportico.

The Wizards have suffered from underperformance for decades and have recently undergone a leadership change, with Michael Winger named as the new president of the Monumental basketball team and Will Dawkins as the Wizards’ new general manager.

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The Capitals won the Stanley Cup championship in 2018, led by star player Alexander Ovechkin. They missed the playoffs this season and are in the midst of rebuilding.

The Mystics, led by two-time MVP Elena Delle Donne, have made the playoffs in five of the past six seasons and won the league title in 2019.

(Photo: Jeff Burke/USA Today)