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Published 19 February 2013 11:56, Updated 17 April 2013 10:44
Danny Bhandari already has links to cricket and could become involved when the FFA decides to sell the fast-growing Western Sydney Wanderers. Photo: Michele Mossop
The privatisation of the Western Sydney Wanderers A-League soccer club will provide Rich listers an opportunity to do something many of them love to do: buy a sporting team.
An Australian Financial Review report suggests the Parramatta-based Wanderers might be worth as much as $20 million when Football Federation Australia sells the season-old club within the next couple of years.
While investments in football clubs have frequently proven to be a good way to lose money, the rich often find the chance to become involved in top level sport too tempting to pass-up.
Leading the list of sporting investors is Nathan Tinkler. Before enduring a big fall in his wealth – the former billionaire is in big danger of missing the Rich 200 altogether when it is next published in May – Tinkler acquired the Newcastle Knights rugby league club and the Newcastle Jets soccer team through his Hunter Sports Group vehicle. But debt problems led to the Australian Tax Office commencing proceedings to wind-up the group over $2.7 million in unpaid debts in December.
The licence of fellow mining magnate Clive Palmer was revoked by the FFA last year after Palmer was unable to attract sufficient crowds to his Gold Coast United club.
Another Rich 200 member and FFA chairman Frank Lowy has also been a financial supporter of the A-League. His money has played a big part in the establishment of glamour club Sydney FC.
Other Rich list members to have acquired stakes in football clubs include Robert Gerard (Adelaide United), Paul Ramsay (Sydney FC) and Harry Stamoulis (Melbourne Victory).
As far as football clubs go, the Wanderers may be an attractive proposition for a wealthy investor looking to get involved in club ownership.
Currently sitting second on the league ladder, the Wanderers are attracting good crowds and are based in a key growth corridor of Sydney.
Here are a few Rich listers who may consider taking the punt:
The man behind poultry empire Inghams Enterprises, Ingham is about to get his hands on a large amount of cash. A billion dollar public float of his family business has been mooted and work is also underway on a trade sale. Ingham is already a big investor in horse racing and his business has its headquarters in western Sydney.
As a former member of the Greater Western Sydney Economic Board, Tony Perich is another Rich 200 member with strong links to the Wanderers catchment zone. A dairy farmer, Perich made a lot of money from the conversion of western Sydney’s Oran Park raceway into a residential and commercial hub.
High frequency trader and Young Rich member Danny Bhandari has a history with professional sport in the area. After being asked by Cricket NSW to play a role in the establishment of either the Sixers or the Thunder Twenty20 teams, Bhandari told BRW that he choose the Thunder because of its links to western Sydney. “It’s a growth area and there’s a big Asian-Australian population out there and all that was important to me,” he said.