American politician interested in purchasing NZ Warriors from Eric Watson

The politician heads a group which features former NFL players.
The politician heads a group which features former NFL players. Photo credit: Photosport

A United States politician is interested in signing the up-for-sale New Zealand Warriors, according to reports.

Richard Fale, a Republican member of the Hawaiian House of Representatives, heads a group of businessmen in the United States, Tonga and New Zealand who are interested in purchasing the Penrose-based club.

NZME reports the multi-million dollar group is believed to include former NFL players, who are prepared to meet current owner Eric Watson's asking price of $20million.

Fale wants the Warriors to be the first professional sporting organisation in the world to be owned and run by people of Polynesian and Pacific Island heritage.

"In the entire history of professional sports, pretty much until now, Pacific Islanders have essentially been seen as great athletes and players on the field, and nothing more beyond that," Fale told NZME.

"We perceive this as an opportunity to take that next step in the evolution of Pacific Islanders and sports, something that could move the needle for our communities.

"At the moment, we are recognised for our athletic prowess and we are still trying to assert ourselves on the world stage beyond that. We have a shared, unified vision of where we want to take the Pacific community."

Eric Watson with Warriors coach Stephen Kearney.
Eric Watson with Warriors coach Stephen Kearney. Photo credit: Photosport

Born in Utah, but brought up in Tonga, Fale is now based in Hawaii and has family in Auckland, He has been on the Hawaiian House of Representatives since 2013.

He admits his group has always been interested in owning a sports team, but the fact many American franchises are valued in the billions has made it difficult.

"That is not a field you can make a play in," said Fale. "Across the major worldwide sports, it leaves you with the rugby and rugby league.

"When this opportunity came up, we had to look at it.

"It's still new for us and there are a lot of differences in the approach to professional sport, but we have made a lot of progress."

Forbes released a report earlier in the week, saying every NBA club is now worth at least US$1billion.