Manchester United Football Club's American owner, Lancer Capital, has made its first foray into cricket by acquiring a franchise in the soon-to-be-launched UAE T20 League. The update came a week after Reliance Industries, the owner of Mumbai Indians in the IPL, also announced their investment in the league through a franchise ownership.
"I am very excited to be a part of UAE T20 at its formation," Avram Glazer, chairman of Lancer Capital, said in a statement. "UAE T20 promises to be a world class event that will be transformative to the growth of cricket in the Emirates."
Last month, Lancer Capitals was among the final shortlisted bidders for the two new IPL franchises, eventually losing out to RPSG Group and CVC Capital, the groups that acquired the Lucknow and Ahmedabad franchises respectively.
Out of the nine bids, Lancer Capital had posted the lowest bid at INR 4128.65 crore (US$ 551 million approx.) for the Ahmedabad franchise, and INR 4023 crore (US$ 537 million approx.) for the Lucknow franchise.
The latest investment adds to the company's portfolio in the sporting world: the Glazer family also owns Super Bowl champions Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"I am very excited to welcome Mr. Glazer to the UAE T20 Family," Khalid Al Zarooni, UAE T20 League chairman, said. "To have a partner who has invested into sports properties with a long term investment perspective is a testament to the strength of the UAE T20 League's Business Model and its value proposition to its stakeholders and an ode to the UAE as the destination of choice for global sports events."
The owners of the Knight Riders T20 teams are also understood to be "on-board" to own one of the teams in the UAE event. Capri Global, which also made a failed bid for the two new IPL franchises, Big Bash League's Sydney Sixers, and Kiran Kumar Grandhi, a co-owner of Delhi Capitals, are believed to be among the other interested parties.
The six-team league has been sanctioned by the Emirates Cricket Board and is looking to make room for itself in the January-February window, although its inaugural edition in 2022 is likely to be played in February-March.