The CEO of New Fortress Energy, Wes Edens, has been actively investing in sports franchises for a couple of years now. He boasts of being the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks, one of the most prosperous NBA teams and Aston Villa, an English Premier League team. Despite the prosperity of these ventures, he just might have made his biggest sports investment yet, the BAL (Basketball Africa League). The emerging league was launched in 2019 and had its inaugural season in 2021. Not so long ago, Wes Edens was interviewed about his involvement in the BAL and its future.
Investing in the BAL
The New Fortress Energy CEO said that from his point of view, sports investments always go well with business investments. This perfect combination always drives him to look for new opportunities in the sports sector with the same drive he looks for business opportunities. Additionally, managing sports franchises takes the same seriousness as a company but offers more excitement. Wes Edens said that the world today has some of its top athletes being from Africa. When the opportunity arose to invest in the BAL to access some of the exceptional talents, he took it. He added that, given time, he believes BAL might even grow beyond what the NBA is as its continental league.
What does the BAL need to do to outshine the NBA?
Wes Edens mentioned that the BAL would need to develop a productive media presence to gain fans who will watch it and support it by attending matches and buying merchandise. This needs to happen both within Africa and also globally. He said that for the league to gain this productive media presence, it has to be much more competitive to offer a much higher entertainment value. The New Fortress Energy CEO added that governments in the region also need to go the extra mile to support the league.