Football Federation Australia (FFA) has today announced that Hyundai A-League club the Newcastle Jets has been purchased by the Ledman Group, a leading high-tech LED signage manufacturer, operator and integrated sports business headquartered in Shenzhen, China.
Ledman is listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange and is an official partner of the Chinese Super League, owner of the professional club Shenzhen Renren in the Chinese League Two and naming rights partner of Portugal’s Segunda Liga (Ledman Ligapro).
Among other investments, Ledman has a strategic shareholding in Infront Sports and Media Group, the world's second largest sports marketing company and also one of the world's largest sports media production and broadcasting companies.
FFA Chairman Steven Lowy has hailed the Ledman Group investment as another significant step in Australian football’s engagement with Asia.
“In the decade since joining the Asian Football Confederation, Australia has diligently developed important connections across the spectrum, including the sporting, political, cultural, administrative and development spheres,” said Lowy.
“The investment by Ledman shows those links have delivered a dynamic relationship built on trust and mutually beneficial activities. Ledman’s move is a signpost towards our future in the fastest growing football region in the world.
“This demonstrates the strength and growing international status of the Hyundai A-League.”
Ledman Group Chairman Martin Lee said the purchase of the Newcastle Jets was undertaken as part of a strategic expansion.
“We see a bright future for football across Asia and the Hyundai A-League is at the forefront as one of the top professional leagues in the region,” said Lee.
“The investment aligns with Ledman’s activities in several sectors of the sports industry and I’m excited by the potential of the club.
“Most of all, I understand that the Newcastle Jets are a very important part of the Newcastle community.
“I want to work closely with everyone in Newcastle, the fans, members and the local football community, to make this club the best it can be.”
FFA CEO David Gallop said that he was delighted that the Newcastle Jets now had a new owner with considerable sports industry knowledge.
“I warmly welcome the Ledman chairman and majority owner Martin Lee to Australian football and the Hyundai A-League,” said Gallop.
“Over the past few months of talks over the purchase we have been impressed by Ledman’s plans and ambitions for the Newcastle Jets as part of its global football investments.
“I’m pleased that from the outset community engagement and football development in Newcastle and northern NSW have been top priorities for Ledman.
“This move is significant for the way it demonstrates the Hyundai A-League’s multiple connections to Asia.”