Notable buyers and a splashy NFT at Liga MX’s Necaxa indicate big buzz south of the border.
Did you know that more soccer fans watch Mexico’s Liga MX in the United States than MLS and England’s Premier League combined?
Despite finishing in 18th and last place in the clausura half of the 2020-21 Liga MX season, Club Necaxa not only recently sold a 50% stake in the team to a cadre of celebrity investors, but also unveiled an auction for an exclusive, 1-of-1 NFT that actually guarantees a 1% ownership stake in the club.
Earlier this year, Al Tylis, whose soccer investments include Welsh club Swansea City of the EFL Championship (who narrowly lost Saturday’s Premier League promotion playoff) and MLS’ DC United, teamed with DCU chief strategy officer Sam Porter to lead a star-studded group that purchased 50% of Necaxa, a team based in Aguascalientes, a central Mexican city with a population of just under one million.
That ownership group includes former Arsenal star and Germany World Cup winner Mesut Ozil, the husband-wife duo of Tigers ace Justin Verlander and supermodel/actress Kate Upton, Miami Heat All-Star Victor Oladipo, actress Eva Longoria, Olympic gold medalist skier Bode Miller, and former NBA All-Stars Richard Hamilton and Shawn Marion.
And given the sheer level of high-profile investor interest combined with the creative NFT ownership rollout and healthy stateside television ratings, it’s worth wondering if Liga MX is about to become the next big thing in North American sports investment.
“There was a news report valuing the [team] in the low nine-figure range, which I’m not going to disavow,” Tylis told Bloomberg when asked about the sale price, which at least one other outlet confirmed to be over $1 billion.
Tylis and company will get some of that undisclosed sale price back with the NFT auction of a 1% ownership stake in the club. The auction will take place over a two-week period on OpenSea, with a minimum bid priced at just under $1.3 million. Necaxa says it’s the first ever sale of an equity ownership interest in a major professional sports team via non-fungible token.
All this buzz could be the catalyst that makes investors based in the US (and beyond) take a long, hard look at Mexican club soccer as a gigantic growth opportunity.