JPMorgan sets up a dedicated sports investment banking team, memo shows

(Reuters) – JPMorgan Chase has created a new sports-focused investment banking team as the Wall Street bank seeks to tap an increasingly lucrative industry, according to an internal memo seen by Reuters on Tuesday.

The bank has created a new “sports investment banking coverage group” which will offer advisory and financing solutions for activities like investing in sports franchises to clients globally.

“Sports has become an increasingly large asset class, attracting more and more institutional investors,” Fred Turpin, global head of media and communications investment banking, said in the memo.

Top sports franchises in the U.S. and Europe are now collectively valued at more than $400 billion, according to the memo.

Eric Menell and Gian Piero Sammartano will co-lead the new investment banking team and report to Turpin. Sammartano will maintain his local reporting line into Burkhard Koep, the head of Telecoms and Media EMEA.

Dealmaking in the sports industry remained robust last year despite global mergers and acquisitions (M&A) volumes hitting a decade-low.

Sports M&A activity came in at $22.6 billion last year, according to a report by the Institute for Mergers, Acquisitions, and Alliances.

Consulting giant Deloitte expects premium sports properties to attract record valuations this year as institutional investors increasingly seek opportunities in the sector.

JPMorgan has worked on several deals in the sector, including British billionaire Sir Jim Ratcliffe’s recent acquisition of a minority stake in Manchester United.

It has also advised Formula One owner Liberty Media and sports entertainment group World Wrestling Entertainment in the previous year.

The bank already has a sports financing franchise that has financed stadiums and arenas for many teams in major U.S. sports leagues and globally, including Real Madrid FC’s emblematic Santiago Bernabeu stadium.

(Reporting by Arasu Kannagi Basil in Bengaluru and Anousha Sakoui in London; Editing by Tasim Zahid)