The NBA has opened its doors to sovereign wealth funds — and some of the world’s largest funds want to buy in, too.
Qatar Investment Authority and Abu Dhabi-based fund Mubadala Capital have both expressed interest in buying stakes in NBA teams, according to to Bloomberg. These funds manage $450 billion and $284 billion in assets, respectively.
The league’s board of governors voted in December to allow sovereign wealth funds to buy up to 20 percent of a team, subject to league approval. Funds are only allowed to be passive owners and are prohibited from playing a management role in the team.
The New York Knicks could be a potential match: The team has expressed willingness to sell a minority stake and has ties to Abu Dhabi through Silverlake Management, which is also an investor in Knicks owner Madison Square Garden Sports.
The NBA also plans to hold multiple preseason games in Abu Dhabi this September, with the Dallas Mavericks, Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks all planning to go.
QIA helps finance the 2022 World Cup and owns French football giants Paris Saint-Germain.
In November, Mubadala paid $971 million for 20 percent of the media rights in the emerging soccer league, Liga do Brasil. Last year, it invested $50 million in the Supercross World Championship, a motorcycle racing series.
NBA teams have welcomed private equity investors who can own up to 30 percent of individual teams. The Phoenix Suns, Sacramento Kings and Golden State Warriors are all teams partially owned by private equity firms.