The group which includes Manchester City FC and New York City FC, City Football Group (CFG) has invested in and will Chair the Advisory Committee of a new, first-of-its kind, $115m sport venture capital fund, Sapphire Sport.
The new fund sees CFG, which is made up of six clubs, invest as a lead partner in the fund, which comprises owners and investors from across major US sports leagues; NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL and MLS as well as from related industries.
The announcement follows a track-record of innovation and strategic, sustainable investment from CFG. That approach complements its original global, multi-club model, as Sapphire Sport sits alongside other football-related businesses and investments, including recreational facilities (a joint venture with GOALS Soccer Centres in North America), media ventures (Dugout), esports, football schools and recreational coaching and eleven commercial offices across eight countries.
The Fund is to be administered by leading Venture Capital firm, Sapphire Ventures, and led by two of the firm’s managing directors, Doug Higgins and Michael Spirito.
Ferran Soriano, CEO of City Football Group, commented: “Challenging the conventional approach is at the heart of our ethos at City Football Group. Investing in Sapphire Sport, a first of its kind fund, is a natural extension of our original global model, which pairs teams in six countries and five continents with football related businesses, which help drive our growth and success.
“Our goal is creating winning teams, playing beautiful football, and most importantly, engaging and entertaining our fans all over the world. Through City Football Group’s partnership with Sapphire Sport and its portfolio of investments, we will continue to champion innovation across our business, experiment with emerging technology and work closely with some of the most forward-thinking brands in the world of sport.”
The fund launches with an exciting portfolio of five startups, including Fevo, a social commerce solution company; mycujoo, a live football (soccer) streaming platform; Overtime, a next-generation digital sports network; Phoenix Labs, an independent gaming studio and the creators of Dauntless and Tonal, a digitally connected home fitness system.