Providence commits $250m to partnership with NFL

Providence will commit capital from its Fund VI to the partnership, which will target growth equity investments in North America, Europe and Asia.

Providence Equity Partners has formed a strategic partnership with the National Football League to invest in sports- and entertainment-related media businesses. 

Providence and the NFL will each commit capital for growth equity investments of between $25 million and $50 million, with “the capacity to make larger investments”, according to a statement. Providence is committing $250 million from its $12.1 billion Providence Equity Partners VI Fund. Providence and the NFL will target businesses in North America, Europe and Asia, backing a variety of companies ranging from technology to digital media businesses. 

“[T]here are many traditional and digital media properties that complement the NFL’s business and can add lasting value,” Providence senior managing director Paul Salem said in the statement.

Providence declined to comment beyond the release. 

The partnership with Providence is the first of its kind for the NFL, which selected the firm after conducting a search for an investment partner.

Providence has backed many companies in the sports and entertainment sector, with current portfolio companies such as MLS Media, the media and marketing and sponsorship business of Major League Soccer; Ironman founder World Triathlon Corporation; and Univision Communications, the US Spanish-language media company.

Last November, Providence sold the majority of its investment in US sports and entertainment channel YES Network to Nasdaq-listed News Corporation, generating a 4.5x return multiple, according to a source with knowledge of the situation. The source said the deal valued YES, which broadcasts sports-related programming to 15 million US subscribers, at more than $3 billion.