Football Celebrities Take Note: MCO Model Is Changing The Rules At The Top
For decades, the football industry was used to a status quo of ownership and management. Premier league players, all who quickly achieved celebrity status, may have looked down on smaller clubs, riding on the strong financial positions of the larger clubs.
That was until multi-club ownership (MCO) arrived. Now, the MCO model has initiated a major disruption in the industry – to the extent that Uefa is cautioning that the transfer market could be distorted. The benefit of the doubt would assume that Uefa is not suggesting that oligarch money is better than American investment dollars, but that it is keen to uphold integrity.
Creating a level playing field:
Football deserves a level playing field where smaller clubs can also boast top talent. Currently, the market is distorted, not because of the MCO model, but because of the unfair advantage large clubs have when it comes to their bidding power for top players.
But Europeans are no strangers to disruption. They have seen Lidl and Aldi move in from Germany to dominate they European food chain at the cost of the wealthy families who owned regional supermarkets. Thus, they should be used to economies of scale and its benefits by now. Point in case: for years, regional supermarkets bullied farmers and charged high prices, whereas today, Europeans finally experience the benefits of competition: better treatment of farmers, better prices for food.
It is also entirely possible that equality will come to the football player market, where those in bigger clubs could start earning a bit less – and players in smaller clubs could earn more due to the scale of the companies that own the clubs.
Important companies to watch in the multi-club football industry:
Brera Holdings PLC (NASDAQ: BREA) is one example of a fast moving MCO operator. It was the first club to list an Italian football club (Brera F.C.) on the U.S. stock market. Then, Brera moved quickly to announce expansion: First, it announced that it signed a LOI to acquire European first division football team Fudbalski Klub Akademija Pandev (“Akademija Pandev”) in North Macedonia. Now, it announced the establishment of Brera’s first African football team, with a second division club started in Mozambique.
Eagle football holdings: In December, John Textor, a businessman, purchased Olympique Lyonnais, a French team, for €800mn through his company Eagle Football Holdings. Additionally, Eagle Football Holdings possesses ownership of Botafogo, a team in Brazil, Molenbeek, a tier-two team in Belgium, and a 40% share in the English Premier League team Crystal Palace.
Benefits of the MCO model for football as an industry
Positive things can happen in the football industry – thanks to American finance flowing more evenly to more parts of Europe. Is that not what greater access to markets should mean for any industry? These are some of the benefits brought by the MCO model in football:
Cost-effective: The MCO model allows clubs to share resources and infrastructure, reducing costs and increasing efficiency. The model also allows the clubs to generate more revenue by sharing sponsorships, ticket sales, and merchandise sales.
Greater control and flexibility: As clubs are owned by the same entity, it provides greater control and flexibility in terms of player transfers, staff appointments, and overall club management. This helps to create a cohesive and unified approach to the clubs’ operations.
Increased fan engagement: The MCO model has helped to increase fan engagement and interest in both clubs by creating a strong brand identity that fans can relate to. This can in turn increase attendance, merchandise sales, and overall revenue.
Stronger community ties: The MCO model enables the clubs to establish stronger community ties by investing in local initiatives and developing grassroots soccer programs. This helps to build a strong fan base and establish the clubs as an integral part of the local community.
Enhanced player development: The MCO model is helping to enhance player development by providing a clear pathway for young players to progress from the academy to the first team. This can make the development of several high-quality players at scale.
To demonstrate just how uneven the market is, consider the search statistics below. Notice the gap in search volume even among the top football players in the world. The search volume below represents the number of people in the world who are searching on Google for the name of any particular player.
Top 10 Football Players by Global Search Volume for 2023 on Google:
Lionel Messi, currently playing for Paris Saint-Germain F.C, the superstar player is one of the most well-known and popular football players in history. He secured this title even further in the 2023 FIFA World Cup. leading the Argentinian team to World Cup victory in their finals match-up against France. With a monthly search total of 13,200,00, Messi has touched the hearts of people from all over the world because even though he had to overcome a lot of obstacles at a young age, he never gave in and instead used his determination to become the best player of all time. Messi has a casual clothing line with Ginny Hilfiger – which initially caused related share prices to skyrocket when investors realized large profits from it.
#2. Cristiano Ronaldo
A number one rival of Lional Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo is a Portuguese professional footballer who currently plays for Al-Nassr FC after leaving Manchester United, in what was quite a dramatic exit. With over 563 million followers on Instagram, he is widely regarded as one of the best players in the world and regarded by some as the greatest of all time. A five-time Ballon d’Or winner, four-time FIFA World Player of the Year recipient, and four-time IFFHS World’s Best Playmaker winner. To date Cristiano Ronaldo also remains the most searched football player of all time, with an average monthly search total of 17,400,00. This man, ladies and gentleman, is the legendary Cristiano Ronaldo.
Neymar Jr. or simply Neymar is a Brazilian professional footballer who plays as a forward for French club Paris Saint-Germain in the Ligue 1 and the Brazil National Football Team. On March 26, 2018, Neymar became the first player to have scored more than one hundred goals in La Liga since 2009. Since then, he has been described as “a virtuoso with an eye for goal” and has earned critical acclaim for his playing style, including his ability to be an accurate finisher with either foot as well as his capacity to read the game. Running in third place for the most searched football player with a total of 9,260,000 searchers per month, it is no wonder Neymar is one of the highest paid football players right now.
After exploding onto the football scene with a stunning brace in France’s World Cup opener and a series of highlight-reel plays, Kylian Mbappe has become one of the most recognizable players on the pitch. His most noteworthy accomplishments would most certainly be in his participation in France’s win of the FIFA 2020 World Cup, where he scored a minimum of 4 goals in all the matches he played. Watch this space, with a total of 8,560,000 searches per month, it is clear that Mbappe is taking over.
Widely regarded as one of the best strikers in world football, this Polish professional footballer plays as a striker for Bayern Munich. Most well-known for his composure in and strong physique, and one of the best headers across European football, it is no surprise that he has received several individual awards and recognition for being amongst the best strikers in the world. However, with a total of 3,290,000 searches per month, it seems he would have to do a lot more to level up the rankings with the greats like Messi and Cristiano.
#5. Karim Benzema
Named the French Player of the Year for a brilliant display in the 2012–13 season, he is most certainly well deserving of his reputation of being one of the best strikers in the world. With a score of 2,420,000 online searches per month, Benzema is well-known as Real Madrid’s second highest goal scorer and assist provider, and as a result Benzema has won 24 trophies with Real Madrid, including four La Liga, two Copa del Rey and five UEFA Champions League titles.
The main striker of Juventus F.C. and the Argentina national team. Dybala is gifted with a spectacular long shot and incredible control over the ball that allows him to pull off stunning moves on the field. He is a cherished member of Juventus having scored over 115 goals for the football club putting him at a similar level with the great Roberto Baggio. And with 82 of those goals coming in Serie A, he managed to speed past Cristiano Ronaldo leading him to sit at the top 10 of that category as well. Although Dybala falls short in online search volume, with only 2,220,000 searches per month, he remains a beloved and integral part of Juventus F.C.
#7. Gerard Piqué
Winner of the 2010 FIFA Ballon d’Or and the 2009 UEFA Best Player in Europe award,
Gerard Piqué is a Spanish professional footballer who plays as a center back for Barcelona and the Spain national team. He started his career with Espanyol, but rose to prominence with Manchester United in England, before returning to Barcelona where he has since won 19 trophies, including six La Liga titles and three UEFA Champions League titles. With 1,910,000 searches per month, he may not be the most popular but he sure has earned his title as one of the best.
#8. Sadio Mané
Mané, a Senegalese professional footballer currently playing for FC Bayern Munich, is most well-known for his superb performance during his contract at Liverpool from 2016 to 2022. Regarded as the fastest football player in the world today, Sadio Mané earned the nickname ‘Dede,’ which was attributed to his blazing running abilities on the field. A role-model and social activist at heart, Mané has made it is his duty to give back to Senegalse community, with over €530,000 being spent on building a hospital in his home village Bambaly in Senegal. We do however think that with only 1,810,000 monthly searches, the football player is deserving of more recognition.
#9. Luis Suárez
This Uruguayan professional footballer plays for Campeonato Brasileiro Série A club Grêmio, and is often regarded as one of the best strikers in the world. Most well-known for his superb performance in the 2014 FIFA World Cup, where he won the Golden Boot award after netting three goals that was considered to be one of Urgugauy’s best performances on home soil. Although Suárez does not appear in much headlines these days, with only 1,740,000 monthly searches, he has most certainly earned his respect and title as one of the best in football history.
African stars who could soon be eligible for premier league football.
The future of African football is bright. With a host of African stars making the grade among Europe’s elite clubs, more could soon be joining them on their rung in the ladder to greatness. Here are the 5 African stars who could soon be eligible to play in the Premier League.
This 28-year-old Kenyan professional footballer plays as a striker for Qatari club Al-Duhail and captains the Kenya national team. In 2015, he made his debut for the Kenya national team in a friendly match against Seychelles at the Stade Linité in Victoria on 28 March 2015, where he scored his first goal for the Harambee Stars in a friendly match against South Sudan which resulted in a 2–0 win. From here on out, there was no doubt that Olunga was here to stay,
Another rising football star from Kenya, the 26-year-old international defender Eric is currently attracting interest from top European clubs after his impressive games for Swedish side AIK Fotboll. Earning the nickname ‘Marcelo’ due to his dynamic attack approach in games, most certainly sets his opponents off their tracks.
Saimon Happygod Msuva, a 29-year-old Tanzanian football superstar currently playing as a forward for Saudi Arabian club Al-Qadsiah and the Tanzania national team. With an estimated transfer market value of €750,000, this makes him an African footballer with one of the highest average market prices for transfers.
Ugandan international football player Allan Okello Moses, plays as a left wingback for Beerschot Wilrijk and the Uganda national team. Among a series of achievements, one of the 22-year-old’s most esteemed accomplishments would have to be the 2019 FUFA player of the year award. This award could be considered as being partly influenced by his proven value in Uganda’s match up against Burundi in the 2019 African Cup of Nations, whereby he managed to score in the return leg against Burundi in the qualifiers, who then sealed a fifth consecutive qualification for the 2020 African Nations Champions. With analysts predicting an eventual move to Europe, it will surely be exciting to watch his expected success in the coming years.
A true rising star in the football industry, Farouk Miya the Ugandan professional footballer plays as an attacking midfielder for TFF First League club Çaykur Rizespor and the Uganda national team. The young 25-year-old started his career in the Ugandan Premier League with Vipers SC in 2013 and played for them until 2016, managing 49 appearances and scoring 20 goals. He is also well-known for his position in the Uganda national team, where he is nicknamed “Muyizi Tasubwa, ” meaning “the hunter who cannot miss.”
All industries need to evolve. Football has a long history and heritage, but is not exempt from evolution – which the MCO model will bring. Besides the ability to engage stronger sponsorships and roll out a scaled model to drive new revenue streams from advertisers, the real benefit of the MCO model is that smaller clubs that belong to a larger entity can now afford better players. Beyond just “acquiring” players, they can now train up a wider talent pool and provide them with quicker access to more clubs.
For years, people have been trying to find good sports and football ETFs for investments. One could argue that the multi club football ownership model is a step closer to a football ETF.
Those most affected by these potentially positive changes, will be investors in football since this is no longer exclusively for oligarchs. Investors can safely enter the market via the U.S. stock market. Finally, the players and the fans may benefit most from transformation in the market.