Sixth Street nears deal to take control of sports group Legends Hospitality

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Private investment group Sixth Street Partners is set to close a deal to take a controlling stake in Legends Hospitality, the sports and entertainment company co-owned by the New York Yankees and Dallas Cowboys, which would market the group. to $ 1.35 billion, according to informed people. on threads.

The deal, which could be announced as early as Monday night, would give Sixth Street a “narrow” controlling stake in the company, which offers services including stadium concessions, naming rights and merchandise sales for a variety of professional and university sports teams. The Yankees baseball team and American Football Cowboys would continue to manage and oversee the business, the people said.

The transaction highlights the influx of private capital in professional sports during the pandemic, as leagues and teams seek to shore up funding as they face depressed or non-existent ticket sales and associated concessions.

News of the deal was reported earlier by the Wall Street Journal.

Sixth Street Partners’ Legends deal, which has more than $ 50 billion in assets under management, is his latest investment in an industry hard hit by pandemic restrictions. In April, the company joined Silver Lake by raising $ 1 billion in debt and equity for Airbnb, the short-term hosting platform.

In addition to Legends’ sports franchise business, whose clients include the University of Notre Dame and Spanish Real Madrid, the company also offers sales and experience planning at attractions such as London’s View from the Shard. and the One World Observatory at New York’s World Trade Center. .

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Sports leagues in the United States and around the world have been stranded by the growing Covid-19 pandemic, especially Major League Baseball, which relied on ticket sales and stadium concessions for nearly 40% of its revenue in 2019.

At the same time, club ratings have only accelerated in the past year. In October, the titan of hedge funds Steve Cohen bought the New York Mets baseball team for more than $ 2.4 billion, a North American record. Qualtrics founder Ryan Smith finalized a purchase of the Utah Jazz basketball team for more than $ 1.6 billion, according to a person familiar with the deal, from $ 24 million last month. paid by the previous owners in the mid-1980s.

In recent months, private capital has not been deterred by pandemic distress and encouraged by a constant or increasing appreciation of sports assets, seeking investment in the industry in anticipation of a possible return to normal

“People are going to want to go to sporting events, they are going to want to go to concerts – whether it’s six months or 12 months, it’s going to come back at some point,” one of the people said. briefed on the Legends deal.

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