Moneyball guru Billy Beane has bought a minority share in Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar.
Beane, executive vice president of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics, has bought a 5% share in Alkmaar, strengthening his ties with the Dutch club having previously acted in an advisory role.
“I am honored to formalize my role with AZ and take this next step in being part of the future of the club,” Beane said in a statement.
“Working alongside Robert [Eenhoorn, AZ’s general manager] and the rest of the group here over the last five years has been an incredible experience for me and this agreement ensures the relationship will continue for the foreseeable future. I’m proud of all the club has accomplished in recent years and cannot wait to get started working on the future of AZ.”
Beane’s Moneyball philosophy helped his A’s team beat higher-spending rivals in MLB by using detailed sabermetrics to identify undervalued players.
Michael Lewis wrote “Moneyball” in 2003, analysing Beane’s success, and the book was turned into a 2011 film starring Brad Pitt.
Beane has long been interested in football and is part of a consortium that owns Championship side Barnsley.
Alkmaar were second in the league table before the Dutch government cancelled the 2019-20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic. Alkmaar face Dynamo Kiev on Tuesday for a place in this season’s Champions League group stages.
“Over the past five years Billy’s advisory role has brought AZ many advantages,” Eenhoorn said. “In working with him we got to know how wonderful it is to have his breadth and depth of knowledge to our disposal.
“It has proven to be a true asset. Formalizing this through this agreement for us means ensuring a sustainable partnership for the future of AZ. Tapping into Billy’s expertise, experience and his extensive network will in our view prove extremely valuable for the future.
“Billy’s experience in leading a major American sports organization, with a limited budget, speaks for itself and he will play an important part in the development of AZ’s vision and strategy going forward.”
Chairman of the board Rene Neelissen added: “Through Billy we gain a huge network in the world of sports. We truly feel there is lot to be won and learned from that.
“In some aspects football is frontrunner in comparison to other sports, but in many aspects that is exactly the opposite. Billy helped us in acknowledging those gaps and working on them.
“Our fruitful collaboration which started in 2015 has now lead to our decision to allow Billy to acquire a stake in the club with a maximum of just under 5%. Our vision on the future development of AZ has shown us that we need to ensure the sustainability and long term relationship with Billy by this financial deal.
“AZ by this deal also shows the openness to external financing. For us however external financing should not be limited to monetary factors alone, but should fit into the vision of the club and our plans going forward. All decisions in this area will be driven by expanding AZ’s future both nationally and internationally.”