HomeAmerican Football49ers president open to NRL club ownership

49ers president open to NRL club ownership

49ers president open to NRL club ownership

The president of NFL heavyweights San Francisco 49ers has expressed interest in potentially acquiring a team in the NRL, signalling a potential crossover between American and Australian sports markets.

Al Guido, president of the Super Bowl XVIII runners-up and the chief executive of Elevate, a sports consulting firm, made these remarks during a conference in Las Vegas, coinciding with the NRL’s historic double header in the city. The event was attended by NRL club executives and ARL commissioners.

Guido highlighted the 49ers’ recent investment in English football club Leeds United as evidence of their interest in multi-sport ownership. He emphasised the importance of passionate fanbases, citing it as a key factor in considering potential investments.

“It is not a new concept. We will look at anything that has a passionate fan base because to us it starts with that,” Guido said.

“If people are coming through the gates and supporting it, the reality is you have a pretty good commercial opportunity.

“To us, Leeds fit the persona. It was a team that has historical context, it had won championships, it fell on tough teams, it was a one team town, massive support even in the championship. It has worked out so far. If that worked in rugby league for the right club, would we take a look? Absolutely.”

Regarding the NRL’s expansion into the American sports market, Guido supported the move but cautioned that it would require time and patience to yield significant results.

“I think it is very ambitious,” he continued.

“But I think it is an interesting move. I think it follows a lot of what the NFL went through when they thought about having an international strategy.

“A couple of things I think they are doing really well – having games that matter. I think kicking off the season in Las Vegas, the entertainment capital of the US, on the heels of playing the Super Bowl here is really smart.

“I do think the strategy is sound … I think they are on to something. But I will tell them and tell all the fans, it is going to take time.”

Despite the challenges, Guido believes the NRL’s strategy has potential, echoing the gradual success of the NFL’s international ventures, including taking matches to England since 2007, Mexico since 2016, Germany since 2022 and adding Brazil to the schedule in 2024.

Guido emphasised the need for patience and planning in expanding the NRL’s presence in new markets.

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