An investment entity affiliated with the NFL’s San Francisco 49ers, 49ers Enterprises, has increased its minority stake in Leeds United to 37%, the team and club announced Monday.
The additional investment represents a 22% increase from the initial stake 49ers Enterprises acquired in 2018 and will result in Paraag Marathe, the 49ers’ executive vice president of football operations, becoming Leeds United’s vice chairman. Marathe, who also serves as the president of 49ers Enterprises, will retain his spot as a board member for the English Premier League club.
Leeds United chairman Andrea Radrizzani will remain Leeds’ majority stakeholder and chairman.
“We are delighted to welcome further investment into our club from 49ers Enterprises and I am confident that this latest partnership will help Leeds United continue to grow and develop into the team our supporters deserve,” Radrizzani said in a statement. “I have always been open to bringing partners on this journey with me, as long as these actions can benefit the long-term strategy of the club.”
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The initial partnership between Leeds United and the 49ers has coincided with the club’s rise from the English Championship back to the Premier League for the first time since being relegated after the 2003-04 season.
“Now that we have achieved promotion and made a positive start to the new campaign, there is no better time to be looking ahead to the future, as we aim to take this football club to the next level, initially by becoming an established Premier League side before chasing our dreams of taking Leeds United back into Europe,” Radrizzani added. “We must also be focused on reaching our potential commercially and developing Elland Road and our training facilities.”
Marathe oversaw the development of Levi’s Stadium, the 49ers’ $1.3 billion stadium that opened in 2014, and is intimately involved in the team’s player salaries and analytics department. As vice chairman of Leeds, he and 49ers Enterprises vice president Collin Meador “will be more involved in the decision-making process and day-to-day operations,” according to the release.
“Our 49ers Enterprises team has always shared Andrea’s [Radrizzani] vision for constructing a powerful and winning club in the most competitive football league in the world, and the experience of the last three seasons has been more exhilarating than we could have ever imagined,” Marathe said.
“The hard work and bold leadership demonstrated by Andrea and his talented team has restored Leeds United’s rightful place in the Premier League and we look forward to playing an even bigger role in supporting their efforts to climb the table this year and into the future.”
Leeds United sits 12th in the Premier League and play Newcastle United on Tuesday.