New Sports SPAC Seeks Soccer Team With Dodgers’ Friedman, Rays Owner –

Hollywood financier Paul Conway founded European Football Seekers SPAC with Dodgers CEO Andrew Friedman, Tampa Bay Rays owner Randy Frankel and Angel City co-owner Julie Orman.

SPAC, Counter Press Acquisition, is seeking to raise $75 million in an initial public offering “to focus on businesses in the sports, media and data analytics sectors, with a focus on the professional sports business,” according to a preliminary prospectus filed today with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Counter Press lists the criteria for potential acquisition targets, including European football clubs “with intrinsic brand value that could be enhanced by our management team by improving (a) field performance through an analytics-based approach, and (b) business and revenue.” operations,” according to the filing.

As head of baseball operations at the Dodgers and before that at Frankel’s Rays, Friedman has been at the forefront of using analytics. In particular, the Rays have been known for building teams that competed and won against the higher-paid clubs in the MLS East, overcoming issues with their fan base and stadium. Orman is the co-founder of Angel City Football Club, a Los Angeles-based National Women’s Football League franchise set to debut in 2022. She was previously an executive in Lionsgate’s streaming division.

Conway, CEO of SPAC, is the co-founder of Pacific Media Group, a financier and distributor of films including Ad AstraAnd Martian And X-Men Apocalypse. Conway is also co-chairman of Barnsley FC, which currently holds one of the relegation centers in England’s second-tier football league. He is also a board member of Swiss football club FC Thon. Conway owns additional stakes in the football team in clubs in Belgium, Denmark and France. It is maintained by Partners Path, a multi-family investment firm founded by one-time Rays executive Michael Calt. Calt itself is part of the management of SPAC, in his capacity as Chief Financial Officer. Frankel serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors.

“As more sports clubs and businesses related to sports and media recognize the necessity of building global brands in order to compete for revenue and brand recognition across fan bases, mature management teams, experience and expertise will be required to enhance visibility and profitability,” it said in the filing. “We believe our management team can provide all of these attributes for a potential target.”

European football teams are a frequently discussed potential target for SPACs, which are raising money in an IPO with the goal of finding a company to buy later. Counter Press has become the seventh blank check to determine the desire for a sports franchise, and there are 21 more on the market that focus on sports and are open to acquiring a team. So far, no team has gained. The capital of those companies specialized in the field of private projects is $6.5 billion, according to Athlete SPAC Sports Tracker.

Waiting in the wings to go public are approximately two dozen additional SPAC positions whose announced acquisition criteria point to sports teams as potential purchases. Including Counter Press, that group hopes to raise $5.5 billion.

Brokers BTIG and EarlyBird Capital are leading the Counter Press IPO. The offering hopes to sell 75 million units, consisting of a share and a half security (the right to buy another share) for $10.

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