You can enable subtitles (captions) in the video player
Multi-club ownership is the hottest trend in global football. The business model where one investor owns a stake in more than one team was pioneered more than 15 years ago by Red Bull, maker of energy drinks and owner of Leipzig in Germany and Salzburg in Austria. Since then, others have taken the idea to the next level.
City Football Group, the parent company of Premier League champions Manchester City, now owns stakes in more than 10 clubs. Its portfolio spans Europe, the United States, and Australia. It also includes teams in Asia and South America.
There are now dozens of multi-club groups. US investor John Textor recently bought Olympique Lyonnais in France, joining his holdings in Premier League Crystal Palace, Brazil's Botafogo, and Molenbeek in Belgium. The Qatari owners of Paris Saint-Germain now own a stake in Portuguese team SC Braga, and have their sights on further additions this year. Plenty of others are following suit.
So what's the big idea? Some see multi-club ownership as a way to hedge their bets and spread their costs. Relegation is still the biggest risk for investors. So buying more teams limits the negative impact of one bad season.
It works the other way, too. Owning several clubs gives you multiple shots at promotion. Talent scouting is part of the appeal. Owners with a group of teams can find prospects in different markets and develop them around the network before sending them to a linked team at a discount price, or selling them off for profit.
Multi-club groups can also offer sponsors, opportunities across the world of football, with a single partner. But not everyone is convinced that the benefits outweigh the costs. Some see it as a fad enabled by loose regulation.
There are currently few restrictions on investing in multiple clubs across different countries. Critics argue that allowing investors to turn clubs into feeder teams puts a lid on ambition and hampers competition, especially in smaller leagues. But despite those reservations, for now, the rise of the multi-club model looks unstoppable.