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NFL ‘ups stake’ in On Location

The National Football League (NFL) has moved to strengthen its stake in On Location (OLE), its official hospitality partner, according to The Athletic website.

Citing sources, The Athletic said that owners last month voted to increase the NFL’s stake in OLE from 13.5% to nearly 45%. In January 2020, sports and entertainment agency Endeavor acquired a majority equity ownership stake in OLE from existing investors in a deal reportedly valued at $660m (£482.4m/€578.6m).

Along with the NFL, On Location is a partner to more than 150 other rights holders, such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), golf body the PGA of America and the US Tennis Association (USTA).

The company provides official access for both corporate clients and fans looking for immersive experiences at marquee events including the Super Bowl, which this year takes place on February 13 at SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles, alongside the Pro Bowl, NFL Draft, NCAA Final Four, PGA of America events, numerous college football bowl games and the tennis majors.

On Location, which was originally a part of the NFL, had been privately held from 2015 by RedBird Capital Partners, Bruin Sports Capital, the Carlyle Group and 32 Equity, the NFL’s investment platform. Under the ownership structure established following Endeavor’s takeover, 32 Equity remained a major shareholder and the NFL said it would enhance its strategic partnership with On Location focusing on providing NFL fans, partners and clubs access to its suite of premium hospitality offerings.

The Athletic said the January 2020 deal granted call options in OLE to 32 Equity. Endeavor’s most recent quarterly report in November read: “At any time on or prior to April 1, 2022, 32 Equity has the right to purchase … common units of OLE … that would result in 32 Equity having an aggregate ownership percentage interest in OLE Parent of 32%.

“Between April 1, 2022, and April 1, 2024, 32 Equity has an additional right to purchase that amount of additional common units of OLE Parent from the Company that would result in 32 Equity having an aggregate percentage interest in OLE Parent equal to 44.9%.”

OLE’s key asset is its long-term licence to market 9,500 Super Bowl game tickets. These tickets are bundled with hotels, parties, airfare and other offerings to create lucrative packages. For this year’s Super Bowl in Los Angeles, the cheapest package is currently retailing for $5,950 per person.

The NFL last week maintained it is planning on staging this year’s Super Bowl at SoFi Stadium as scheduled amid suggestions the game may be moved due to an increase in COVID-19 cases in Los Angeles.

The NFL confirmed that “several clubs” had been contacted to potentially step in and host the event but the league is confident its showpiece event will be held at SoFi Stadium, where it is expected to set new revenue records.

Image: PrayItNoPhotography/CC BY 2.0/Edited for size