Collingwood approached by American investors, decline privatisation

Collingwood president Eddie McGuire has revealed he was approached by a major US sports franchise about the possibility of a club buyout, which would make the Magpies privately owned.

International interest in the AFL spiked earlier this year after COVID-19 shut down sports leagues across the world. The AFL was one of the last leagues to be suspended, and as a result saw an increase in overseas viewership.

Since then, the Magpies, who have American ties through Texas-born Mason Cox, were contacted by an undisclosed US franchise with intentions of privatisation.

"I was approached in the last 10 days by a major American sports franchise asking whether they could buy into Collingwood," McGuire said on Channel 9's Footy Classified. "The answer was no, because we are a members' club.

"They don't understand the members' club over there, they go 'what do you mean you're not owned by somebody, how does this work?'

Despite dismissing the idea at Collingwood, McGuire said he felt "it would make perfect sense" for a club like GWS to look into international investors.

Giants CEO David Matthews later confirmed his club would have to seriously consider such an offer, particularly given the financial hit it has taken during the COVID-19 lockdown.

"As a young club our ticketing revenue and consumer revenue has a long way to go to get to the levels that other clubs enjoy," Matthews told Footy Classified. "Over time we've tried to work out how to make up that revenue gap.

"We have a group called the M7, as you say there's some interest from the US and that's amongst 25 individuals that's probably a couple of million dollars a year. They have backgrounds in US sport where there is private ownership models.

"If there's opportunity to bring third party money into the game, you'd have to consider it."