A Sector-Specialised  Department

SportsLinking is the sports and entertainment division of ThinkingLinking


Emerging markets have woken up to the Western sports sector, both as investors and fans – particularly China. For example, China is now by far the largest investor in Western soccer teams, surpassing the investment value of all other countries combined (see our report below).


SportsLinking is active in linking European clubs with investors and opportunities in emerging and other markets, usually with one of four corporate finance goals.

Emerging markets like China arguably provide the sweetest opportunities for our sports clients but require deep market and cultural understanding to access them successfully.


Knowing the investment motives of individual emerging market investors is crucial.  In the sports club field, for example, some investors want the prestige of a premier league club, some like to ‘gamble’ on a championship or 2nd tier club that might make it through to the next league, while some others still are content with a smaller investment just to tick the box of owning a club.  Meanwhile, investors range from minority to 100%-acquirers, but each one has its clear preference which may or may not suit the European club, and also range from financial to strategic investors, each with its specific strategic plan.  Knowing the preferences of each investor allows us to focus our linking process on the relevant group of target partners.

SportsLinking services

•  sell side mandates

•  sale of minority/majority stake

•  buy side mandates

•  emerging market-focused mandates
•  Optimal Global Partner strategic review (OGP)
•  Counter-party Synergy Analysis (CSA)

•  hosting of Joint Business Planning (JBP)



SportsLinking is also the publisher of the China Wins the M&A Cup report, an analysis of 201 soccer investments in the last three years with a total value of €4.1 bn.