Private Equity Will Ruin Football

Briton Ryle

Written By Briton Ryle

Posted May 8, 2024

I vividly remember watching the news reports when the Mayflower trucks rolled out of Baltimore as snow fell on the night of March 28, 1984. 

The Colts were off to Indianapolis and Charm City’s heart was smashed. 

Those were the days when a city and its football team shared an identity. Salaries weren’t what they are now, Colts players often worked or owned businesses in the cities they played for. Johnny Unitas owned a bowling alley. Art Donovan owned a part of Riderwood Country Club. My ex-wife worked at Don McCafferty’s steak house…

The Colts left for greener pastures – the allure of a better stadium deal in Indianapolis.

Cleveland suffered the same heartbreak when Art Modell packed up the Browns and moved them to Baltimore. But at least Cleveland got to keep the name and the legacy. Bernie Kosar and my all-time favorite running back duo Earnest Byner and Kevin Mack are still remembered as Cleveland Browns. 

Johnny Unitas is in the Indianapolis Colts Hall of Fame, though they refused to retire his iconic #19. 

Maybe I’m a sap. Maybe I should grow up and accept that the NFL is a business and any real regional identity is the romantic fantasy of a child….

But Oakland without the Raiders is just wrong. 

And it will get worse when the NFL finalizes its plan to let private equity own up to 30% of NFL teams.

Barbarians at the Ticket Gate

Private equity bros are not your typical business owners. They are in it only for the money.

I know business in general is ultimately about the money. As a business owner in a capitalist system, making money and increasing the value of your enterprise is the point. 

NFL is running a big risk opening its ownership up to private equity companies. 

Because private equity tends to take a pretty depraved view of business and capitalism. 

Yes, private equity firms share the business goal of making money. But their goal is to make it for their own firms – the companies they buy are just a means to that end…

Private equity does not care about any kind of corporate culture or regional identity. 

The private equity playbook typically calls for gutting the company for the valuable assets with the added bonus of loading the company with debt and taking that cash too.  Then they fire all the workers.  See Sears, Red Lobster, Kraft-Heinz and Toys-R-Us.

Now, investing in NFL teams is a great idea, the value does nothing but go up. And with a horde of private equity firms bidding to get their 30% piece of the action, you can bet that’s going to push the value of an NFL team higher. 

But that 30% is still a minority stake. Private equity won’t be able to just gut teams for the money. That doesn’t mean they don’t have some sneaky plans. 

In a recent interview, Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt said: “One of the things we’ve learned through this process is that these private equity firms are not only interested in potentially investing in NFL franchises but also being involved in some of the real estate development that goes along with stadium projects…”

Real estate development and stadium deals. That’s where private equity will fleece somebody…or everybody. Teams and the municipalities that fund stadium construction should be on high alert.  

Private equity is on its way to NFL team ownership and it’s the tax payer that is going to get screwed.


Briton Ryle
Chief Investment Strategist
Outsider Club



You May Also like: 

Taxpayers are Paying Billions for Stadium Renovation and Construction


3 Steps to Winning the Coming Crisis


Sell This Coffe Stock Now