AMB Sports and Entertainment (AMBSE), the parent company of Major League Soccer team Atlanta United and the National Football League’s Atlanta Falcons, has bought a minority stake in Scottish Premiership club Aberdeen FC.
AMBSE, which is run by Home Depot co-founder and billionaire Arthur Blank, is gaining a less than 10 percent stake in Aberdeen and will have no operational involvement or day-to-day oversight responsibilities. As part of the £2m ($2.57m) investment, Atlanta United president Darren Eales will join Aberdeen’s board of directors.
Atlanta United will also enter into a strategic partnership with Aberdeen geared towards boosting soccer and commercial operations for both clubs. It will help expand Atlanta United’s reach globally, by expanding the club’s scouting network into Europe and allow for a development pipeline between the clubs.
“We’re excited about what we can achieve together through a shared approach to soccer and commercial operations centered around mutual respect for AFC’s heritage and Atlanta United’s innovation and progressive strategy,” Eales said in a statement. “While our focus will remain on Atlanta United day-to-day, we look forward to sharing our learnings with Aberdeen as they begin the process of planning and building a new venue and developing an exceptional fan experience as we have here at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.”
AMBSE’s non-exclusive investment is part of a new package of investment in Aberdeen totalling £5m, led by US based software entrepreneur Dave Cormack, a native of Aberdeen and current resident of Atlanta. Aberdeen chairman Stewart Milne and other directors are stepping down, with vice chairman Cormack becoming chairman after the club’s Annual General Meeting on December 16.
“Atlanta United has record-breaking MLS attendances and season ticket sales, as well as the most successful fan engagement programme in Major League Soccer,” Cormack said. “We will be looking to learn from their experience, taking what works in Scotland, and applying it to improve our relationship with fans, create better match day experiences and develop potential sponsorships and other commercial initiatives that will generate revenues.”
In March, Aberdeen was given the green light by local authorities to begin construction of a new 20,000-seat stadium, which is scheduled to open in 2023.