Classic Football Shirts and The Chernin Group (TCG), a multi-stage investment firm known for building and growing consumer businesses, announced an investment from TCG that is expected to fuel aggressive and immediate global expansion plans. Concentrating on North America, one of the brand’s fastest-growing markets that currently represents just 15 percent of the overall business, TCG’s investment is said to underscore the significant market opportunity tied to the rising global interest in football (soccer) culture.

The company said in a press release that there are 3.5 billion global football fans in the world and fandom is up 60 percent in the U.S. over the last decade as major European domestic leagues are aired on U.S. TV networks, shows like Ted Lasso and Welcome to Wrexham have streamed into family rooms, fashion designers have given a nod to football style in collections, and celebrity superstars have been photographed wearing the football shirts.

“Each football shirt tells a unique story and represents the history, culture, style – and the nostalgia of the game,” said Classic Football Shirts Founder and CEO Doug Bierton. “It’s a passion and obsession for the sport, from our team and our customers, that built the business to where it is today. It’s exciting to think about how we’ll connect with millions more around the world over a shared love of football.”

Founded in 2006 in Manchester, UK by Doug Bierton and Matthew Dale – and later joined by co-founder Gary Bierton, Classic Football Shirts has reportedly thrived as a self-funded, fast-growing enterprise that’s been profitable since its inception. The company said it has a thriving community both on and offline, with stores in London and Manchester, UK, millions of social followers, and customers in over 100 countries.

“The Classic Football Shirts team has built an incredible business,” said TCG partner, Greg Bettinelli, an early investor in popular consumer marketplaces, including GOAT and ThredUp while at his previous firm, Upfront Ventures. “We are looking forward to working with Doug, Matt, Gary and the rest of the team to build on their success through the expansion of its audience, assortment and new geographies.”

TCG invested $38.5M of growth equity capital into Classic Football Shirts and is the only major outside investor. With this investment, Classic Football Shirts will continue on its path to being the global destination for authentic football shirts and cultivate a community of fans and fashion enthusiasts through a shared love of the unique shirts.

In addition, Cormac Barry, a senior executive with over 25 years’ experience in online B2C, online B2B and retail across multiple sectors including sports and travel, has joined Classic Football Shirts as executive chairman.

Coinciding with the investment news is the opening of Classic Football Shirts’ latest retail experience in New York City on Canal Street.

Image courtesy Classic Football Shirts