Ares Sports Fund Raises $2.2 Billion, Exceeding Target by Nearly 50%

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The Ares Sports, Media & Entertainment fund announced it has raised $2.2 billion to invest in sports leagues, teams and sports-related franchises, according to a press release. The amount raised is 47%, more than the initial $1.5 billion target Sportico reported Ares was seeking when it was pitching the fund to institutional investors last year.

In practice, Ares says the committed capital represents its ability to make $3.7 billion in investments using leverage and “related transaction vehicles,” according to the release.

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Based on that figure, and Ares’ stating it has committed 25% of the fund’s capital, it has $925 million of sports and related investments in its portfolio. That includes an investment of either debt or equity into MLS squad Inter Miami CF, which was previously undisclosed. The fund has other previously reported investments in the San Diego Padres, Atlético de Madrid, McLaren Racing and, at least as of July 2021, a debt investment in the governing body of Australia rugby. Ares says in total, it has investment in 19 entities in the sports fund.

“We have witnessed significant demand for new and original content among fans, streaming platforms and networks and this has driven sports related businesses to require flexible and scalable capital to help fuel this secular growth,” Mark Affolter, co-head of Ares’ U.S. direct lending, said in the release.

Today’s release also shows some changes in the fund’s advisory panel, compared to what was shown to investors last year. New advisors include former soccer star Mia Hamm, co-owner of Major League Soccer’s LAFC, and singer Lionel Ritchie. Other members of the advisory panel are executive chairman of Sportsology Mike Forde, Atlanta Hawks co-owner and former basketball star Grant Hill, Snap Inc. chairman Michael Lynton, former ESPN president John Skipper and former baseball star Mark Teixeira.

Ares is a publicly traded company managing $334 billion in assets. Its management has extensive sports business experience, including co-founders Tony Ressler, co-owner of the Atlanta Hawks, and Bennett Rosenthal, a co-owner of LAFC.

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