Football: New Chelsea owner says English Premier League is heavily undervalued

Todd Boehly said he planned to make greater use of data analysis in the selection and recruitment of players at the club. PHOTO: AFP

BERLIN (BLOOMBERG) - The new American owner of Chelsea said England's top football league remains deeply undervalued, as he gave clues to the future direction of one of the country's biggest teams.

"They don't realise how big their opportunity is," Todd Boehly told the SuperReturn International private equity conference in Berlin on Wednesday (June 15). "Let's get a hold of our destiny and think about how to optimise this."

The American investor spoke about what Chelsea can expect under his ownership during a conversation with Bloomberg News' Jason Kelly, pointing to revenue opportunities from sports gambling and better player marketing, as well as more rewards for fans who buy season tickets.

In some of his first extended comments since taking over Chelsea, Boehly also said he planned to make greater use of data analysis in the selection and recruitment of players at the club - a model that is already highly favoured among sports owners in the United States.

Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital completed their £4.25 billion (S$7.1 billion) takeover of Chelsea from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich last month.

Abramovich was forced to put the team up for sale before being sanctioned as part of Britain's response to Russia's war in Ukraine.

The acquisition means that next season, for the first time, more than half the 20 teams competing in the English Premier League will be backed by American money. High growth potential and lower valuations relative to sports franchises back home have drawn US investors to the EPL for years.

Since Boehly's arrival, Chelsea has already opted to move ahead with plans to significantly increase the price of some of the best seats at their Stamford Bridge stadium in west London, while freezing the cost of the majority of their season tickets.

A keen sports fan, Boehly already part owns Major League Baseball's Los Angeles Dodges.

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