Many people, when asked what they would do with their money if they were extremely rich, say that they would use it to purchase a professional sports franchise. While this is a very glamorous prospect, it is also an expensive and risky one. With the increasing popularity of soccer in the United States, it could be one of the most rewarding possibilities for a prospective franchise owner.
Assess your capital limitations. With other U.S. major league sports, such as basketball, baseball and football, a high-level franchise normally costs between $100 million and $1 billion. Major league soccer teams tend to go for much less, usually between $10 million and $50 million. Still, this is no paltry sum.
Gather capital. If you do not have enough to buy a franchise, network with other wealthy business people and establish a partnership.
Research your prospects. Find out which owners of existing teams would consider a sale. Contact the teams' CFOs and review their financials. Do not purchase a team that is losing money unless you can get a good deal and you have a clear plan of how to turn things around. Look at the market base for each team. How many people live within driving range of the stadium? How many other professional teams do you have to compete with? How much of a future does soccer have there?
Make your final decision. Remember that this is a business proposition. Score and championships do not necessarily translate into profits. Even when a team is hurting financially, if it is winning championships, its owner may be hesitant to give it up at market price. From a business perspective, your best bet is to acquire a team that is hurting on the scoreboard but still manages to turn a profit. This shows that you have a safe market -- and that you can make even more money if you do turn it into a winning team. As Major League Soccer is still growing in the United States, you may be able to dispense with the purchase of an existing team altogether and buy a brand new franchise. In this case, it is even more important to do thorough research of the market where the team is to be located, as this is the only way you have of knowing how much profit you can expect.