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Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Todd Boehly drops major hint over takeover plan amid Jim Ratcliffe bid

  Todd Boehly has outlined his 'customer relationships' plan that could give him the overall advantage over Jim Ratcliffe to beco...

 

Todd Boehly has outlined his 'customer relationships' plan that could give him the overall advantage over Jim Ratcliffe to become Roman Abramovich's successor at Chelsea. Initially, it seemed as though Boehly won the three-horse race as Stephen Pagliuca's and Sir Martin Broughton's respective consortiums were ruled out of the race for various reasons.

However, at the eleventh hour came the current Nice owner with his lucrative £4.25billion offer that has been criticised by former Premier League owner Simon Jordan. It was a bid that was expected to shake up the whole takeover process but it may be too late in the Raine Group's eyes as they have now granted Boehly and co-exclusive talks with Roman Abramovich to try and complete the full acquisition of the club by May 31.

Chelsea supporters are unsurprisingly growing ever-tired of this draining process which has recently taken its toll on the pitch with all the uncertainty potentially putting into jeopardy the Blues' top four pursuit with dropped points against Man United and Everton allowing Arsenal and Tottenham back into the conversation.

Whether they can continue limping over the line remains to be seen but you cannot fault the fans for now wanting the season to hurry up to a close to allow the new owners to bring some stability during the summer months with what has been described by many by one of the biggest transfer windows for the club in recent history with various issues to sort out in many positions.

As well as backing Thomas Tuchel and his players by offering new deals to current stars such as Mason Mount and Reece James, Boehly's key focus, as well as stadium renovation plans, will be aimed at trying to improve fan engagement in the long run and he has outlined these plans with his 'customer relationships' admission made at a recent 2022 Milken Institute Global Conference where he actually namechecked the Blues in his answer.

NFTs and tokenisation are fairly new concepts in the footballing remit and it seems Boehly himself wants to maximise this potential when, if he is to complete his takeover of a club that Ratcliffe himself believes, should be run by British owners only.

“You’re just characterizing it as ‘tokenization’ because it’s digital. But the reality is... if you want to buy stock in the Green Bay Packers, that to me is ‘tokenization’. You have no rights, you have no control, but you can say you have an ‘interest’ in the Packers," Boehly said, using the NFL giants as an example in his explanation via SBNation.

“I think loyalty programs, whether it’s Vivid Seats, Dodgers, Lakers, Chelsea, we’re all thinking about how do we have direct customer relationships that we can then build upon. And if a form of that comes in a ‘tokenisation’, then so be it, but what we really care about is direct access to our fanbase.

“And if we have direct access to our fanbase, [then] we can start thinking about [having] lots of tiers of different fans that want different products. So we’re starting to think a lot about what is that we want to really give our ‘super fans’ and how do we develop fans.”

As well as talking about fans and their importance to a successfully running football club, Abramovich's most likely successor at this point also spoke about his sports investment philosophy and the need to have some top calibre status before making an imprint on a club or organisation like his successful LA Dodgers outfit. He outlined:

“There’s nothing like sports to excite passion. And if you have passion, then you have people who care about things. And if you have people who care about things, you have great opportunity. And really, it’s about curating that experience, that access, that opportunity.

[For example] we’ll have 4 million people coming out to Dodger Stadium this year. So, our goal is to give them the best possible experience. We still have the most affordable tickets in the league basically, for a stadium that’s full regularly.

“So when you look at how we think about price points, and how we think about sports, we just believe they’re not making more of them, so implicit in that is scarcity value. [And] we’ve been really focused on just the super big brands. In some sports like the NFL, they share all the media money.

In baseball, you’re really a derivative of your local market. The Premier League’s similar. If you look at the way it works, to be one of the big brands, you have a structural advantage. And for us, we’re always looking for structural advantages.”

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