Should Google Buy Liverpool FC?
Google cemented its continuing search market domination with the announcement today that its third quarter profits almost doubled. During the three months until the end of September, its net income was $733m (£390m), a 92% increase on the $381m it made in the same time last year. Google’s shares rose 7% in after-hours trading in New York on the back of results that exceeded even the most optimistic analysts’ forecasts. The gap between Google and the second and third place players has now become enormous, both in terms of share of the search market and revenues.
So I was thinking, with all that spare cash to play with, maybe Google should look to expand its portfolio by acquiring Liverpool FC?
As I write (although this could change!) Liverpool co-owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett have removed the Texas court’s restraining order preventing the club’s sale to New England Sports Ventures (NESV). That’s not been done for any reason other than to aid Hicks in his attempts to sell his stake of the club to US hedge fund Mill Financial. Hicks hopes this will scupper plans to sell to NESV and Mill could then pay off the £237 million debt owed to Royal Bank of Scotland. Theoretically, that has to be paid today if the Reds are to avoid the threat of administration and a nine-point penalty imposed by the Premier League. With a sale imminent, that’s unlikely to happen, but Hicks is still attempting to strike a deal with Mill Financial that could yet throw a spanner in all the works.
Google should therefore take some of its bunce (£237 million is peanuts for them) and ride to the rescue of the Reds! It makes sense. There are obvious marketing synergies in a Google – Liverpool linkage.
No-one in the SEO world really, absolutely, positively knows just how the Google algorithm works (not even people within Google I suspect).
No-one in the football world is really certain as to whether there is, in fact, any team strategy at all behind Liverpool’s recent play.
Liverpool is also in the search market – searching for an on-form striker, decent keeper and some full backs that are any good, couple of midfielders, a captain who knows how to change records without using a fist – that sort of thing.
There are also fantastic merchandising opportunities:
- Stevie G could become “Stevie Google”
- Ryan Babel could morph into “Ryan Google”.
It all makes sense you know!
What does make sense though is the fact that the word’s most profitable, best attended and most stable football league is the Bundesliga – where all but two clubs have a majority ownership by the fans themselves. Maybe it’s time we looked at the English football business ownership model again?