Chelsea FC ‘$10 Billion’ Future Valuation Suggests Big Changes To The English Game

April 28, 2022 – Media Mention

Irwin Kishner, co-chair of Herrick's Sports Law Group, spoke to Forbes about the business outlook for Chelsea Football Club in light of the pending sale of the club. The article notes that the players have "gone from the highs of becoming European and World champions to having their employer caught up in a war and hit with financial sanctions." In discussing the change in ownership, the article states that the new ownership is "likely to have a heavy dose of American influence."   

"[P]art of the appeal of acquiring Chelsea for an American is the opportunity to make improvements," noted Kishner. He further explained, "[t]he ways sports businesses are run overseas, there's more value to be made by making certain changes, implementing certain standards [and] management techniques, that I would submit are maybe a little bit more evolved here over the US... I’m talking about figuring out ways of enhancing the stadium experience, community involvement and real estate development. There's a number of different what I call revenue streams that I think can be evolved[.]"

The article noted that "Kishner has represented some of the biggest players in US sports in his career and knows his way around a multi-billion dollar buyout" and that "[h]aving been involved with groups that have tried to acquire Premier League teams in the past, Kishner is well aware of how difficult it can be to acquire an English soccer team, especially one as prestigious as the Blues."

Kishner highlighted, "An asset like Chelsea doesn't come up very often," adding, "it is clearly a very valuable franchise and it also makes, I think, great sense for a US consortium or US ownership to try to come in."

As to the sale price, which is speculated to be in the billions of dollars, the article stated that Kishner "agreed that, while the price might look eye-watering compared with any deal that has gone before, a sense of long-term perspective was required."

He reflected, "These clubs have a history of just appreciating in value... at the time the deal is done it's like, 'oh, my goodness, how can anybody in their right mind pay that much money for a football team?' Fast forward 10 years? And it's like, 'wow, that was a great deal.'" He added, "You're probably going to pay more because it's such an iconic franchise. But ultimately, I suspect in the long term the owner is going to do rather well."

Read the full article in Forbes here. Access may require a subscription.