Mac Lackey is an entrepreneur, a Charlotte native and now the owner of a Spanish soccer team.
What’s happening: Fútbol Coalition, an organization Lackey founded, purchased third-division Spanish team Algeciras Club de Fútbol for an undisclosed fee.
- The club, located on the southern tip of Spain, is expected to make an official announcement about the purchase this morning.
Flashback: Lackey started playing soccer at age 4. The East Mecklenburg High alumnus would go on to play in college at Wake Forest and professionally for the Charlotte Eagles. Soccer has taken him across the globe, allowing him to meet titans of the game like Pelé, Lionel Messi and Diego Maradona.
Why it matters: Lackey isn’t just fulfilling a childhood dream. He’s bringing an entrepreneurial perspective to a 114-year-old club.
Context: Lackey, a Barcelona season ticket-holder, noticed a stark difference between the way teams were run in Europe compared to the United States in terms of entertainment and access. You showed up for the match, watched and you left. That’s how it’s been for more than a century, but Lackey sees an opportunity to bridge that gap.
What they’re saying: “It was just a question of when would entertainment value get wrapped into sports?” Lackey tells Axios. “When would the professionalism and the business acumen that goes into some of the U.S. sports franchises be applied in Spain?”
Details: Lackey is the majority owner of the club and the only voting shareholder. Ramón Robert, Lackey’s business partner and former CEO of Spanish club Espanyol, is a minority shareholder. Robert has served as CEO of Algeciras CF, running the day-to-day operations, since last season when they acquired the club.
- Algeciras CF plays in a roughly 7,500-seat stadium called Nuevo Mirador and has 5,000 season ticket members, Lackey tells Axios.
Zoom out: Lackey traveled to South America for soccer in high school, and he credits the experience with changing the trajectory of his life as a player and opening his “eyes to another level of the game,” he says.
- He wants other young players from the U.S. to have a similar experience. They would watch Algeciras CF practice and have a chance to meet the team. The club is already talking about bringing college teams over, Lackey tells Axios.
What’s next: Additional changes are already in the works for Algeciras CF. The club upgraded the locker rooms and they’re in the process of renovating the press room. They’ll have a new coach and more than a dozen new players. They’re also switching to Nike as their kit provider.