BORDEAUX’S AMERICAN REVOLUTION

FROM STEVE BRENNER

Joseph DaGrosa, a Miami-based investor and entrepreneur, is no stranger to financial challenges.

So competing against one of the world’s richest football teams – whose star player costs twice as much as the entire club he had just purchased – was a task that whet the 54 year-old’s appetite.

Last month, DaGrosa finalized a $114m deal to buy FC Girondins de Bordeaux, the six-time Ligue 1 champions, located in one of the finest wine regions in the world.

Going from wealth management to expectation management is a career overhaul, to put it mildly. “This is certainly more fun,” DaGrosa tells the Guardian. “The first deal I really cut my teeth on was leading an investor group with a couple of other partners when we bought Burger King franchises out of bankruptcy. That was really the first time I led a major turnaround, but it’s very rewarding when you get it right.”

This month Bordeaux have already demonstrated their resolve as they battled to earn a draw against PSG and ended the Parisians’ 14-match winning streak in the league. Yet it will take one of the most incredible and dramatic turnarounds in sporting history to usurp PSG at the top of Ligue 1 – the title race is effectively over before the turn of the year with second-placed Lille already 13 points behind the leaders (Bordeaux, meanwhile, are 23 points off the pace).

The task is daunting. With the Qatari investment at the Parc des Princes helping establish a club valuation now at $930m with revenue streams touching $482m a year, financial disparity in French football is plain to see. When Bordeaux came calling, however, DaGrosa was ready. “I love people, I love engaging with fans, and I love their passion for the sport. I love it all,” he says.