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Bournemouth owner named as preferred bidder for new A-League club

Bill Foley is set to acquire an Auckland-based team as Australia and New Zealand's top-flight football league expands

The Australian Professional Leagues (APL), the governing body for football in Australia, has announced US businessman Bill Foley as its preferred bidder for a new A-League club in Auckland, New Zealand.

Foley, who currently owns Premier League club AFC Bournemouth, is set to bring his expertise and passion for the game to the A-League.

Nick Garcia, Commissioner of the A-League, said:

"The awarding of preferred bidder status is an important forward step towards new professional women’s and men’s teams in Auckland.

“Bill Foley and Black Knight Football Club are committed sports investors and bring direct elite football experience via their investment in AFC Bournemouth in the English Premier League and other European clubs.

“Importantly, Bill is passionate about Auckland and has a long-term relationship with New Zealand through his business interests. Auckland has been the largest city in Australia and New Zealand without a professional football team, despite football being the most popular team participation sport nationally in New Zealand.

“We look forward to building on the success of the FIFA Women’s World Cup, providing football fans in Auckland with their new home team.”

Bill Foley's sports ownership journey

Foley is no stranger to sports team ownership. He is a general partner of the Black Knight Football Club ownership group, which has made significant strides in the sports industry. Some of the notable acquisitions under his belt include:

  • The purchase of Premier League club Bournemouth in December 2022
  • Ownership of the NHL ice hockey team, the Vegas Golden Knights
  • Acquisition of a minority stake in French Ligue 1 club Lorient FC

The American's diverse portfolio of sports ownership demonstrates his commitment to the industry and his ability to successfully manage and grow sports franchises.

Foley's next venture is to establish an expansion team in the A-League, similar to his successful expansion with the Vegas Golden Knights. He aims to have the Auckland team ready for the 2024-25 season. This move is expected to bring a fresh dynamic to the league and boost its popularity, both domestically and internationally.

Why Foley?

The APL has named Foley as a preferred bidder due to his sports club ownership experience and his existing ties to New Zealand. Foley owns multiple businesses in the country, including a winery and a restaurant. His established presence in New Zealand, coupled with his sports ownership expertise, makes him an ideal candidate to lead the new A-League club in Auckland.

Bill Foley said:

“My family and I have a genuine appreciation and love for New Zealand. We will look to strengthen this connection even further by acquiring an A-Leagues expansion license in Auckland, which will allow us to establish both a men’s and women’s club in the city.

“Black Knight Football Club operates with a commitment to excellence on and off the pitch. Our goal will be to build a winning organization while simultaneously serving the community and growing the sport, and passion for the sport, at all levels.

"We are extremely excited to reach this stage in the process and look forward to the next steps.”

The appointment of Bill Foley as the preferred bidder for the new A-League club in Auckland is a promising development for the league. His sports ownership experience and ties to New Zealand position him well to make a positive impact on the A-League and the broader football community in the country.

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