The A-League’s much-needed boost: Bill Foley’s new Auckland licence brings financial clout and opportunity

New Zealand will soon have two sides competing in the A-League Men’s competition and a second women’s team in the Liberty A-League.Bill Foley, a 78-year-old American businessman who owns Premier League club AFC Bournemouth, has a significant stake in FC Lorient, and heads a consortium of owners who control the Las Vegas Knights, has been granted the newest A-League license. The men’s team will join the competition in 2024/25 and the women’s team a season later. Foley’s net worth is estimated at around $1.6 billion, with Forbes often making such estimations. He is a key figure in Australian football and drawn to it via impressive international results from both the Socceroos and Matildas. With Perth Glory poised for success and the Newcastle Jets waiting for investment from a committed source, Foley’s investment into the A-League is much needed. Some argue that a second New Zealand team is not the most urgent necessity for the A-League right now. However, when a billionaire with a proven track record in investing in sports teams decides to take the plunge, the domestic game as a whole should be shouting with joy. Without a crystal ball, it is impossible to know whether the plunge into the Auckland market will be a positive for the A-League in the short term, Yet the Phoenix have pulled excellent crowds in recent years whilst playing in New Zealand and away from home in the exquisite harbor city. I do not quite understand some people’s reluctance to have a second New Zealand-based team. Investors like Bill Foley are needed to take the A-Leagues to the next level. The A-League will have 13 teams next season, with Foley’s investment considered a potential coup for the APL.