In a first of its kind move, Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund has purchased around 5% of the parent company’s shares for the Washington Wizards men’s basketball team, the Washington Capitals ice hockey team, and the Mystics women’s basketball team.
The investment, valued at $4.05 billion, is the first instance of the Qatari government venturing into the American professional sports arena, according to an insider who spoke to the Associated Press on Thursday on condition of anonymity.
Sportico, a sports company, initially reported the deal, highlighting it as the first instance of any sovereign wealth fund buying stakes in an American team.
However, this isn’t Qatar’s first significant foray into major sports. The Middle Eastern nation hosted the Football World Cup for the first time last year, a move that helped FIFA reach record revenue levels due to a surge in ticket and hospitality sales.
Qatar Sports Investments, a subsidiary of the state-run fund, has held a majority stake in French football club Paris Saint-Germain since 2011. The same group also agreed in October to purchase a 22% stake in the Portuguese club Braga.
Venturing into the American market—even as a minority partner—marks yet another expansion of Qatar’s reach into the world of sports.