European football needs innovation and drama, says the Real Madrid and FC Barcelona investor

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European soccer needs more tournaments with drama and competitive tension to keep fans interested and attract new viewers to the game, says the head of the US Investment Group, which has backed Spanish clubs Real Madrid and FC Barcelona.

Alan Waxman, a former Goldman Sachs partner and co-founder of Sixth Street, which manages $75bn in assets, said the game needed to be innovated to appeal to a wider audience.

„There are more forms of entertainment that people, especially the younger demographic, can consume,” he told the Financial Times. “If you haven't made the play yet . . . You can start to lose center, and once that starts, it's hard to get people back in. That's why the best businesses innovate before that happens.

The San Francisco-based investment group has inked deals with La Liga giants Barca and Real Madrid until 2022. Both clubs support plans to create a new European Super League to replace Europe's most prestigious club competition, the UEFA Champions League.

Waxman, who declined to comment on ESL, said he expects „further structural change in European football” in the search for more games to excite fans.

Uefa is changing the Champions League format next season.

Waxman warned that football clubs with global brands risked losing their luster if they did not continue to invest. Clubs that may have historically enjoyed global recognition „can become melting ice because they don't do the right things from a business and fan perspective and invest in the experience,” he said.

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The opportunity for clubs to leverage new technology that allows fans to follow them from anywhere in the world is in continued diversification of revenue beyond ticket sales and traditional TV deals, Waxman said.

Waxman, who co-founded Sixth Street in 2009, also highlighted the urgent need to upgrade stadiums and other infrastructure to provide fans with a „cooting hub.” Real Madrid and Barca invest heavily in their stadiums.

Sixth Street has taken a majority stake in a company that has held 25 percent of Barça's La Liga television rights for 25 years, allowing the member-owned club to generate capital gains and pay off debt. Separately, Sixth Street and Legends, which has a majority stake in the live events business, have struck a deal with Real Madrid that will see them invest €360mn across the business.

These investments are part of the rise of private capital in the world's most popular sport.

Private equity firm CVC Capital Partners has funded the Spanish and French soccer leagues, while American investors have bought popular clubs including Italy's AC Milan and Premier League side Chelsea.

As well as supporting two of the sport's most famous clubs, Sixth Street last year pledged $125mn to buy a new National Women's Football League club, now known as Bay FC.

„The biggest growth opportunity in sports over the next 10 years is global women's soccer,” Waxman said. „You can already see it happening, but it's just getting started.”

American soccer legends Brandi Chastain, Ali Wagner, Daniel Zlatan and Leslie Osborne co-founded Bay FC with Sixth Street. The NWSL side has made a series of international signings ahead of its first season, including Nigerian international Asisat Oshola, Zambian forward Rachel Gundananji from Spanish side Madrid CFF and Scottish defender Jen Beattie from Arsenal.

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