Leeds United’s owners have boosted their promotion push by securing investment from Ackerley Partners, a US venture capital firm that holds a stake in NHL franchise Seattle Kraken.
The move further diversifies the ownership group at Elland Road, which is led by an offshoot of NFL team the San Francisco 49ers and includes golf stars Jordan Spieth and Rickie Fowler.
Who are Ackerley Partners?
Ackerley Partners is based in Seattle and managed by Ted Ackerley, who co-founded the investment firm with brother Chris and sister Kim Cleworth.
The siblings are the children of Barry and Ginger Ackerley, major players in the city’s basketball scene through their ownership of the NBA’s Seattle Supersonics and WNBA’s Seattle Storm.
Ackerley Partners was established in 2002 after Barry Ackerley sold his Ackerley Media Group to Clear Channel Communications for more than $800m.
It has invested in various media and tech companies. Earlier this year, Ted and Chris Ackerley were part of an entertainment and sport-focused SPAC which raised $115m via an IPO.
The special purpose acquisition company, ESH Acquisition Corporation, included former Disney execs and the president of Magic Johnson’s foundation. It is not the Leeds investor.
What it means for Leeds
Their investment comes as Leeds gather momentum in their charge for promotion back to the Premier League at the first time of asking, having been relegated in May.
They have won six of their last seven matches and sit third in the Championship, albeit eight points off the automatic promotion spots currently occupied by Leicester and Ipswich.
Leeds are also reported to be one of the clubs ready to sue Everton for lost revenue after the Merseyside outfit were found guilty by a Premier League commission of overspending.
Everton avoided relegation last season after taking seven points from their last four games, meaning Leicester, Leeds and Southampton went down.
But they now face claims for compensation from Leeds, Leicester and Burnley, who were relegated the previous season.
Teams who drop into the Championship face a £90m drop in their main source of revenue, the central sale of media rights, as well as reduced commercial income.