US investment bank JPMorgan Chase has formed a new dedicated sports investment banking team to stake a claim in the burgeoning industry.

The major banking firm is looking to offer advisory and financial services to its global clients with a focus on investing in sports properties.

The team will reportedly be co-directed by managing directors Eric Menell, who serves as co-head of North American media investment banking, and Gian Piero Sammartano, current head of Europe, Middle East, and Asia investment banking.  

Menell and Sammartano will report to Fred Turpin, global head of media and communications investment banking, who reportedly stated in a memo about the reason for the team’s formation: “Sports has become an increasingly large asset class, attracting more and more institutional investors.”

JP Morgan already has a presence in the sports industry, mostly through partnerships with soccer teams.

Most recently, the bank agreed a naming rights partnership with US top-tier soccer team Inter Miami CF to cover its home stadium in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

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The partnership, agreed in February, saw the venue renamed the Chase Stadium, with the banking firm possessing promotional signage in and around the stadium, as well as branded VIP hospitality offerings.

While the firm has been expanding its presence in the sports industry as of late, likely prompting the formation of the dedicated team, JPMorgan Chase has held an interest in more major sports investments for several years.

Most prominently, the firm was the main financial backer behind the controversial European Super League breakaway soccer project.

JPMorgan Chase pledged as much as €3.25 billion ($3.5 billion) towards the project in the hope of attracting Europe’s top sides with a €200-€300 million “welcome bonus” each.

The bank aimed to secure this off the predictably lucrative TV rights money that the Super League would have drawn had it gotten off the ground, intimating that it was a long-term investment that the bank wished to make, as opposed to a short-term transaction.

Despite the initial failure of the Super League, JP Morgan has continued to engage with one of its biggest proponents, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez, negotiating with him in 2021 to try and undercut rival investment firm CVC’s commercial partnership with Spanish soccer’s LaLiga.

In forming a new dedicated sports team, it is likely that JPMorgan Chase’s dealings with the top teams in European soccer will only become more entrenched as investment funds such as CVC continue to eat up the global sports market.