Aberdeen FC and Atlanta United Enter into Strategic Partnership

25 November 2019
Author AFC Media Team


Aberdeen Football Club and Atlanta United are entering into a strategic partnership that is geared towards boosting football and commercial operations for both Clubs.

AMB Sports & Entertainment (the parent company of Atlanta United) is investing £2million into AFC as part of a new package of investment, led by Dave Cormack, totalling £5million. This will provide working capital for the Club’s day to day operations.

As part of Atlanta’s investment and the partnership arrangement, Darren Eales, the President of the Major League Soccer Club and former Executive Director of Tottenham Hotspur, will join AFC’s Board of Directors.

AFC Chairman, Stewart Milne, said: “The new investment and this partnership are very much welcomed and justify our decision to implement the succession plans at this juncture. Dave has identified and brought together a group of investors who are, not just providing money but also, fresh-thinking and learning to the Club. I’d like to thank Dave for taking on the Chairman’s role with the passion and commitment required to realise our vision and rise to the increasing challenges facing Scottish football.”

It was announced yesterday that Stewart Milne, along with other directors are stepping down. Dave Cormack will become Chairman after the Club’s AGM on 16th of December.

Cormack said: “This collaboration between our Clubs will deliver economies of scale by aligning both clubs on key football and business operation best practice. It will include shared agreement on worldwide player identification, assessment, recruitment and development. For example, we will be able to tap into their impressive scouting network across South America and, in return, we can assist them with identifying and assessing players in Europe.”

But it’s not just a collaboration that will benefit AFC’s on-the-pitch operation. There will also be mutually beneficial commercial synergies.

Cormack added: “Atlanta United has record-breaking MLS attendances and season ticket sales, as well as the most successful fan engagement programme in Major League Soccer. We will be looking to learn from their experience, taking what works in Scotland, and applying it to improve our relationship with fans, create better match day experiences and develop potential sponsorships and other commercial initiatives that will generate revenues.”

The new investment, which comes with this partnership, will put the Club on a firmer financial footing over the next few years which, Cormack says, is absolutely critical as they strive to meet the future challenges, continue to invest in the football operation and raise funds for the new stadium.

Darren Eales led the development of the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Training Ground – a $60 million training facility that opened in 2017 and is widely considered one of the best facilities in North America. He also spear-headed the club’s transition into its new home, the 70,000-seater Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a world-class multi-use sports and entertainment complex.

Eales said: “We’re thrilled about this opportunity to partner with Aberdeen, a successful club with a long and proud history.

“The partnership is a natural fit, with synergies both on and off the pitch. We share the same commitment to our fans, our core values, community engagement and competitive results.

“We’re excited about what we can, together, achieve through a shared approach to football and commercial operations. This will be centred around mutual respect for AFC’s heritage and long footballing history and Atlanta’s innovation and progressive strategy. Together, we believe we can make an impact on supporting and driving both clubs and the wider game on both sides of the Atlantic.”

AFC Manager Derek McInnes welcomes the partnership. He said: “I’ve visited Atlanta United and witnessed first-hand their impressive facilities and approach to matters both on and off the pitch. I am really encouraged by their desire to work with us and look forward to forging greater relations with our colleagues in the MLS.

“Having got to know the people from the Atlanta, in particular Darren Eales and Carlos Bocanegra, I’m confident that we’ll be working with good people who share similar views on how this relationship can help both clubs going forward.

“We want to continue to be a competitive force in Scottish football and will now be in a position to further develop our player recruitment strategies, tapping into markets which otherwise may have been hard to navigate in terms of player identification.

“Similarly, we are fortunate to have a Youth Academy with a mature strategy and have benefitted from a number of young players progressing through the ranks to feature for the first team. Our experience in this field, developing and nurturing young talent, will be key to this relationship as we share best practice.”