Birmingham City brings in OVG to aid stadium vision

Featured image credit: Birmingham City FC

English Championship football club Birmingham City has agreed a multi-year partnership with the European arm of US sports and entertainment company, Oak View Group (OVG), as it ramps up plans for St. Andrew’s stadium under its new ownership group.

Under the terms of the agreement announced today (Friday), OVG will work with the club to develop a long-term strategy to maximise the commercial value of St. Andrew’s and City’s training grounds; create a new commercial framework for future infrastructure projects that owner Knighthead Capital Management is committed to delivering; and seek to secure additional relationships with global partners.

In June, the English Football League (EFL) approved Tom Wagner’s acquisition of a 45% stake in City. Wagner, co-founder of New York-based Knighthead Capital Management, earlier agreed to acquire a stake in City and assume ownership of St. Andrew’s.

Wagner had highlighted improvements to St. Andrew’s as a key priority. The stadium has fallen into disrepair in recent years, with supporters in November returning back to all areas of St. Andrew’s for the first time since before the outbreak of COVID-19. This followed the completion of remedial work on the Kop Lower stand, which had been closed since March 2020 due to structural issues.

Birmingham City CEO, Garry Cook, said today: “It is very important for Birmingham City to join with ambitious businesses who align with the ambition of the club. Our long-term goals are unprecedented, and we are pleased to attract the global expertise OVG can bring to the club.

“OVG has a track record that is second to none, especially in maximising naming rights and ancillary benefits for existing stadiums and new builds. This will be a significant asset for Blues. Revenues generated by OVG will be invested directly back into the club, supporting our drive to become world class across everything that we do.”

OVG chairman and founder, Tim Leiweke, added: “Currently, OVG is developing Co-op Live, the most sophisticated international arena ever built in the UK, and the most expensive outside of the US. And we seek to work with other like-minded, entrepreneurial partners.

“Clearly, Birmingham City and their vision for the club and stadium are world class and highly ambitious. We are excited and focused on helping Tom Wagner and Garry Cook deliver on their vision and commitment to Birmingham.”