- UK fintech firm London Football Exchange (LFE) has snapped up a majority stake in Australian A-League side Perth Glory FC.
- LFE Group Founder Jim Aylward spoke of the desire to build “a global platform” for the club.
UK fintech firm London Football Exchange (LFE) has snapped up a majority stake in Australian A-League side Perth Glory FC. The deal, set to be ratified by late March, will see the British company – which held a $70M token sale in 2018 – take a controlling stake in one of the Antipodean nation’s largest teams.
Up until now, LFE has been focused on enhancing the fan side of football through advancing the utility of its eponymous crypto token. The LFE token, issued via a $70 million token generation event 18 months ago, operates like a loyalty scheme, incentivizing fans to make purchases that raise funds for their favored club while providing exclusive access to enhanced matchday packages and fan experiences. London Football Exchange has now set its sights on transforming Perth Glory Football Club (PGFC) into a global brand that taps into growing demand for themed products and unique packages.
Describing Perth Glory as the company’s “first targeted acquisition,” LFE Group Founder Jim Aylward spoke of the desire to build “a global platform” for the club with the support of “the wider [LFE] token holder community.” The deal, subject to approval from the Football Federation Australia, will mark a new chapter in the Perth club’s history while hinting at the future of sports team ownership.
A strategic acquisition from a crypto company
Acquisitions of established businesses by crypto-related companies are not unusual. The LFE-PGFC deal is the largest buyout of its kind, however, and an indicator of where sports clubs are headed. Australia’s Melbourne City were previously bought by a conglomerate to create a multi-club ownership/co-operation business model. A similar play will now be executed on Australia’s West Coast once LFE’s majority stake has been completed, with additional clubs around the world set to be acquired.
When LFE launched its token sale in 2018, it was billed as a first of its kind football-based cryptocurrency. Since then, fan engagement cryptocurrencies such as Chiliz have begun to gain traction. Gaining direct access to a major football club will give LFE a key advantage, however, in its quest to push adoption of the LFE token.
Business as usual for the A-League outfit
While London Football Exchange has grand global plans for Perth Glory, on the domestic front, it will be business as usual. Club chairman Tony Sage is staying in place, with a mandate to continue the work he has been doing to promote the women’s game and youth team. The men’s team has acquitted itself well in recent seasons, qualifying for the AFC Champions League, reaching two FFA Cup finals and two A-League Pre-Season Challenge Cup finals.
Football clubs, which used to operate domestically, have slowly transformed into global brands, with the largest teams such as Manchester United and Real Madrid growing an international following that vastly outnumbers their local fanbase. While not in the same league, metaphorically, as such giants, Perth Glory is a large club that plays out of a 20,500-seater stadium in Western Australia’s largest city. The potential for raising the club’s presence overseas while tapping into a crypto-savvy audience of sports fans is huge.
Up until now, crypto companies have limited themselves to advertising on the shorts of football teams. If LFE’s acquisition of Perth Glory proves a success, expect to see other crypto businesses following suit.