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Volume 10 No. 22


Former Chelsea striker Gianluca Vialli is one of the founders of Tifosy, an equity crowdfunding organization -- or "fan-funding," as Vialli calls it -- that allows people to "invest in sports clubs," according to Jason Burt of the London TELEGRAPH. He said, "There are so many ex-footballers in the football industry but I think it’s important to find something meaningful, innovative, that can make a difference. I felt this was an opportunity to get involved in something that in 10 years' time will be the norm." Football and finance "do not always make a good mix." But Tifosy already has a number of projects "to be proud of" and to press its case. One of the key aims is to call for more "transparency" from those who own football clubs "while also trying to bridge the disconnect that has undoubtedly developed between them and the fans." It is a "hot topic." So "what, so far, has Tifosy done?"

  • In the summer of '14, League One side Portsmouth supporters raised £270,000 to "pay for pitches to give the club’s academy a permanent base."
  • In Parma, Italy, €170,000 was raised to create the "Crociato" Museum to "house the club’s trophies and memorabilia after it went bust." 
  • Also in Italy, Serie A and Serie B "launched an appeal to help construct a football pitch and clubhouse for refugees on the island of Lampedusa." 
  • In England, League Two club Stevenage raised £600,000 in just six weeks to build a new North Stand.
Vialli "is an interesting character to head up Tifosy," which he established with Fausto Zanetton, a former investment banker with Goldman Sachs and Morgan Stanley. The 53-year-old Italian won Serie A titles with Sampdoria and Juventus -- with whom he also won the Champions League -- before playing for and managing Chelsea in the pre-Roman Abramovich era (TELEGRAPH, 10/11).

Shares in five-a-side specialist Goals Soccer Centres "shot up" on Thursday after it said that its CEO was "stepping down," according to Emma Haslett of CITY A.M. The company's shares rose 3% to 93p in early trading after it said in a statement that Mark Jones notified the board of his "intention to take another role in the private sector." Last month, shares in the company "slumped" 10% after it said that profits had fallen 25.7% to £2.6M in the six months to the end of June. It admitted its turnaround plan was taking "slightly longer than anticipated," thanks to under-performing clubs which had "not received the required level of arena investment." It also said that it was "highly cautious" about pressure on consumer spending (CITY A.M., 10/12). PROACTIVE INVESTORS' Jon Hopkins reported the firm -- which has 48 sites, including two in California where it has a partnership deal with Man City -- said that its first-half operating costs increased to £12.5M from £11.1M as staff costs, higher business rates and a modernization program "took their toll." In April, Goals confirmed press reports that it is in talks with rival Powerleague but said that it is just one of the "strategic opportunities currently being assessed" by the group. It has not provided any update on the talks since (PROACTIVE INVESTORS, 10/12).

The A$50B ($39.2B) Magellan Financial Group "is turning to high-fee retail investors," launching an A$11M ($8.6M) campaign to "lure cricket fans into the company’s funds amid market-wide pushback against active investment management," according to Michael Roddan of THE AUSTRALIAN. Speaking at the group’s annual general meeting in Sydney on Thursday, Magellan CEO Hamish Douglass said that the company "was also creating funds for institutions that wanted low-carbon options." In a bid to "lure more retail investors," Magellan has paid for the rights to brand the Ashes cricket Test series alongside a three-year deal with Cricket Australia that will see "Magellan-branded stumps, sidescreens and ovals." The company has found 53% of cricket viewers invest in shares, and more than 50% have household incomes above A$100,000 ($78,300). It is the "first retail advertisement the company has done in its 11-year life." Douglass: "There is a market out there that is A$500 billion ($392B) in size and we have a 1 percent market share of what’s available in global equities. Five or 10 years ago we couldn’t even go after that market because you have to do something that’s scaled" (THE AUSTRALIAN, 10/13).