English Premier League
49ers group headlined by two NBA players takes over Leeds United
English Premier League

49ers group headlined by two NBA players takes over Leeds United

Updated Jun. 10, 2023 12:36 p.m. ET

Leeds United is undergoing a full American sports takeover.

The English soccer team is in full control of 49ers Enterprises after the club's majority owner, Andrea Radrizzani, reached an agreement to sell his majority stake Friday.

49ers Enterprises is an investment arm of the San Francisco 49ers, which initially invested in Leeds in 2018. The team's ownership stake in Leeds grew over the years, owning 44% of the club prior to Friday's agreement.

Leeds didn’t specify the sale price for the remaining 56% but British media reported it to be 170 million pounds ($214 million).


Not only are the 49ers involved in the sale, but a pair of NBA players will also become minority owners in the team. New Orleans Pelicans forward Larry Nance Jr. and Indiana Pacers guard T.J. McConnell are both minority investors in the group, Marc Stein reported.

Nance confirmed the news on social media Friday.

Both players also made Instagram posts to share the news Friday. Nance wrote that he was "absolutely honored to be part of the new ownership group," and McConnell wrote that he was "humbled and honored."

The 49ers, Nance and McConnell will now be faced with the task of bringing Leeds back up to the Premier League. The club finished second-to-last in the Premier League this past season, causing it to be relegated to the English Football League for the 2023-24 season. 

"All of our focus remains on a quick return to the Premier League," the club said in a statement announcing the new ownership agreement.

Leeds' latest stint in the Premier League lasted three seasons after it had been out of England's top soccer league for the prior 16 seasons.

The change of ownership in Leeds is just the most recent change in ownership of a European soccer team involving American professional athletes. Former NFL star J.J. Watt became a minority investor in Burnley F.C. alongside his wife and soccer player Kealia Watt in May. Burnley is one of the teams replacing Leeds in the Premier League in the 2023-24 season. 

The owners of a few other NFL teams also have a full ownership stake in English soccer teams. Los Angeles Rams owner Stan Kroenke owns Arsenal. Jacksonville Jaguars owner Shahid Khan owns Fulham. The Glazer family, who owns the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also owns Manchester United.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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