49ers To Use Business Expertise To Help Leeds United; No Plans On Further Relationships Yet
NFL San Francisco 49ers COO Paraag Marathe said that the franchise will use the expertise it gained throughout the last several years to help League Championship side Leeds United grow its business. Just 10 years ago, the 49ers had a 2-14 record and found themselves in the bottom of the NFL. It took them several years to get back to where they are right now, playing in their third consecutive NFC Championship game. The 49ers are looking to see if they can apply some of the practices they used to grow their business at Leeds United through a strategic partnership the two clubs announced last Friday. Marathe said, "We’ve built a fairly good blueprint, playbook for how to grow our own business, whether it’s through ticket sales, sponsorships, stadium development, financing of a stadium, player development or player analytics. All types of different areas. We just thought let’s see if we can help [Leeds] grow their business -- both on and off the pitch." Leeds United, which currently plays in the second tier of English professional football, was relegated from the Premier League following the '03-04 season. In order to get back to the English top flight, Leeds reached out to the 49ers several months ago. Marathe: "We just started having some conversations. Leeds is a club with such strong brand recognition, with such a long and rich history. [It’s] a club that used to be in the Premier League and has moved down. So we really thought in terms of opportunity to add immediate value to a club, Leeds seems like a really good fit."
LET’S WAIT AND SEE: While Marathe did not go into specifics of the deal, he said that there are no immediate plans for further partnerships between the two clubs. The 49ers will send a delegation to England during the next several weeks to identify areas where they could help. Marathe said, "Right now we are doing sort of a diagnostic and spending some time evaluating, looking into where are areas we can help. If there is a longer term business relationship between the two of us, then that will form." The question of what the 49ers get out of this agreement remains unanswered. Growing their global brand might have something to do with it, as Marathe said, "Yes, we absolutely want to grow our brand."