Torino FC boss urges Serie A to reconsider private equity deal

The chairman of Serie A football club Torino FC urged the Italian football league to consider the sale of a stake of the league business to private equity investors, following a proposed deal agreed by Spain’s La Liga.

Faced with the end of a cycle of rapid growth in the value of TV rights and pummelled by a year of next to zero ticket sales due to restrictions to curb the pandemic, football leagues and clubs are scrambling to find alternative sources of revenue.

La Liga said on Wednesday it had agreed in principle a “multipronged” deal with CVC including a 2.7 billion euros ($3.2 billion) cash infusion in return for 10% of its revenue, as well as the creation of a new company housing a range of commercial activities in which CVC would take a 10% stake.

CVC previously entered talks to buy a stake in the media business of Serie A as part of a consortium earlier this year, but the deal fell through following objections from some clubs.

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“I think we should reconsider it, given the current circumstances,” Urbano Cairo told Reuters in a phone interview. “It was a good idea and it’s a pity that someone has arrived before us,” he added.

Cairo, a media businessman who has been the owner of Torino since 2005, said La Liga’s deal with CVC was the right way to respond to the dramatic revenue fall which football clubs are facing.

“La Liga’s deal shows that it is right to make a deal like this, because soccer is living through a very delicate phase due to the lack of revenue, from ticket sales to sponsorships”, Cairo said.

He said Spain’s La Liga had been able to develop its business in recent years, boosting its media revenue abroad.

“(La Liga president Javier) Tebas has proven to have very clear in mind how to generate more value from the soccer business,” Cairo said.

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