220507 Boehly
Todd Boehly, the latest American owner to acquire a English football club in Chelsea, wants all clubs to look at optimising their profits. Image Credit: AFP

Berlin: The new American owner of Chelsea FC said England’s top football league remains deeply undervalued, as he gave clues to the future direction of one of the country’s biggest teams.

“They don’t realize how big their opportunity is,” Todd Boehly told the SuperReturn International private equity conference in Berlin on Wednesday. “Let’s get a hold of our destiny and think about how to optimize this.”

The American investor spoke about what Chelsea can expect under his ownership during a conversation with Bloomberg News’s Jason Kelly, pointing to revenue opportunities from sports gambling and better player marketing, as well as more rewards for fans who buy season tickets.

In some of his first extended comments since taking over Chelsea, Boehly also said he planned to make greater use of data analysis in the selection and recruitment of players at the club - a model that’s already highly favoured among sports owners in the US.

Boehly and private equity firm Clearlake Capital completed their Pound 4.25 billion ($5.1 billion) takeover of Chelsea from Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich last month. Abramovich was forced to put the team up for sale before being sanctioned as part of the UK’s response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The acquisition means that next season, for the first time, more than half the 20 teams competing in the English Premier League will be backed by American money. High growth potential and lower valuations relative to sports franchises back home have drawn US investors to the EPL for years.

Since Boehly’s arrival, Chelsea has already opted to move ahead with plans to significantly increase the price of some of the best seats at its Stamford Bridge stadium in west London, while freezing the cost of the majority of its season tickets.

A sports superfan, Boehly already part owns Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodges.