Americans buy minority stake in AZ

AZ will be in American hands for a maximum of five percent. It is a deal with the well-known American sports director Billy Beane.

Since 2015, Beane, also manager of the Major League baseball club Oakland Athletics, has been involved with the Alkmaar football club as an advisor on top sports policy and innovation. Now we are taking that collaboration one step further.

“Billy’s experience in running a major U.S. sports organization, with a limited budget, speaks for itself. He will therefore play an important role in the development of AZ’s vision and strategy for the coming years,” says AZ director Robert Eenhoorn.

Huge network

There is also satisfaction within the Supervisory Board, the supervisory body within the football club. “Via Billy we will open up an enormous network in the sports world,” says Supervisory Board chairman Renรฉ Neelissen. “AZ also shows through this agreement that the club is open to external financing. However, purely financial considerations will never be the deciding factor”

Billy Beane gained fame as the founder of the moneyball principle, a statistically driven strategy to scout players. In 2011, even a blockbuster, in which Brad Pitt plays the role of Beane, appeared, about the success story behind the statistically-based revolution at the Oakland Athletics.

In recent years Beane has focused on business, including buying interests in sports clubs. In recent years, the American managed to surround himself with a network of football investors.

Like AZ, he is a minority shareholder in English football club Barnsley FC. Together with the Chinese-American multimillionaire Chien-Lee (co-owner of FC Thun in Switzerland and KV Ostend in Belgium) he bought the club in 2017, which is currently active at the second professional level in England.

It didn’t stop there. Beane is also co-owner of the multi-million dollar company RedBall Acquisition Corp. an investment firm focused on the sports world, which also includes Richard Scudamore (the former boss of the English Premier League) and the Dutch investor Volkert Doeksen. Last summer, this network also bought a majority stake in the French club Toulouse FC.

Wider plan

There is a broader plan behind buying interests in clubs. With every purchase of shares, the intention is to further roll out an innovative, statistically driven strategy and to let clubs perform better (read: to increase in value).

“Before I came to AZ, they had been interested in the Moneyball principle here in Alkmaar for some time,” says AZ director Robert Eenhoorn. “He (Billy Beane, ed.) has demonstrated like no other that he can close the gap with top clubs through innovation”