Football is one of the most popular sports in the world, with teams playing legendary games and clubs generating millions in revenue. Their reputation is such that some sports stars are recognized brands in their own right. Therefore, it only makes sense to invest and generate returns when teams are performing excellently.
Businessmen, actors and athletes have invested in football, some even taking the reins of the teams. However, it’s not new for A-list celebrities to buy and partner with popular sports clubs. With the likes of LeBron James, Sir Elton John and Ryan Reynolds jumping on the bandwagon, the game has become a lucrative and booming business.
Here are some well-known stars who have invested in football teams
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney
In November 2020, actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney shook hands to take over club ownership of Wrexham AFC. Since both Reynolds and McElhenney were lesser-known football fans, such a move came as a huge surprise to their supporters.
— Wrexham AFC (@Wrexham_AFC) October 26, 2021
The actors submitted their proposal to the Wrexham Supporters Trust in early November 2020, explaining their plans to invest $2.5 million in a full takeover. The legendary Welsh football club is one of the oldest and holds high ranks in the National League.
Reynolds and McElhenney have made it their mission to continue strengthening the team to earn significant points in the league table. So far the team are unbeaten in 17 home games – the highest since 2015. They intend to invest further cash injections to take the team to the top echelons of English football.
Natalie Portman, Serena Williams, Jay Shetty, Christina Aguilera, Rachel Zoe and others
Angel City FC has many celebrity investors and co-owners who not only add to the team’s glamor quotient but also help streamline a train of sponsors. This women’s soccer team was founded in 2020 by Oscar winner Natalie Portman and their ever-growing list of investors includes some of her best friends like Jennifer Garner, Eva Longoria, Serena Williams and Jessica Chastain.
Recently, A-list celebrities such as author and life coach Jay Shetty, actress Gabrielle Union and her baby daughter Kaavia James, Olympic gold medalist Shawn Johnson East and fashion designer Rachel Zoe have also joined the list.
The team made their debut at their home stadium in April 2022 but have already attracted a lot of attention and cheers. They won the NWSL match against North Carolina Courage 2-1 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The team meets Orlando Pride in their next game on May 9, 2022.
The Los Angeles Lakers star is not only a die-hard football fan or avid viewer of the Champions League, but has also invested in leading football club Liverpool FC.
The four-time NBA champion bought 2 percent of the football club in 2011 for $6.5 million. according to a Business Insider According to the report, his stake was valued at nearly $32 million in 2018 and is constantly increasing.
Since then, Liverpool have won the Champions and the Premier League, taking the team’s global value to over $4.1 billion as of April 2021, according to data forbes. Such achievements and high value have pushed LeBron James’ share price to nearly $46 million by 2021 BBC Report.
David Beckham is a household name in football having played for some of the most prestigious clubs. The co-owner of esports talent development agency Guild Esports retired from the field in 2013 just to invest in the game.
The former England captain and Manchester United legend co-owns Major League Soccer (MLS) side Inter Miami along with Jorge and Jose Mas. In September 2021, Beckham increased his stake and was instrumental in completing the acquisition of Marcelo Claure and Masayoshi Son.
According to a 2021 Inter Miami press release, Beckham said: “We are very proud of the progress we have made in Major League Soccer over the past year and a half and we are grateful to have had Marcelo and Masayoshi with us the first part of our journey.” As part of his 2007 contract, which saw him play for the league as part of the Los Angeles Galaxy, he also received rebate rights to the MLS squad.
That’s not all for the outstanding midfielder. He joined his former teammates, famously dubbed the “Class of ’92,” in buying a 10 percent stake in Salford City Football Club in 2019. The Class of ’92 includes Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt along with Beckham, who are majority shareholders of the team.
In 2019 Salford City defeated AFC Fylde to secure their first promotion to the Football League which was a huge boost for the team.
One of America’s most popular comedians, actors, and game show hosts, Drew Carey was one of the first Americans to become a football team owner when he acquired a 7.5 percent stake in MLS franchise Seattle Sounders FC in 2007.
The price is correct Star is also the chairman of the Seattle Sounders FC Alliance, the club’s affiliate. Carey developed a knack for the game when he watched an LA Galaxy game live in 2003 and has attended almost all of the team’s games to date. The team won its first MLS Cup in 2016.
In 2019, Russell Wilson, quarterback for the acclaimed Seattle Seahawks American football team, and his wife, Grammy-winning songwriter Ciara, and rapper Macklemore and his wife Tricia Davis joined the club’s ownership group. It was the same year that the team won its second MLS Cup.
In 1976 Elton John, singing icon and legend, took over the reins of Watford and became owner and chairman. During his tenure the club rose from the Fourth to the First Division, which can be seen as the equivalent of the 1980s Premier League. However, they lost to Liverpool in 1983 but reached the FA Cup final the following year.
In 1987, John sold the club to businessman and philanthropist Jack Petchey. However, he returned as chairman a decade later in 1997, but resigned in 2002. He remains honorary president of the football club for life and, while he may no longer be a controlling shareholder, has a sizeable role in the game with financial interests.
A regular at Watford home games, Elton John also has a stand named after him on Vicarage Road.
It may be hard for many to believe that Hollywood comedian and actor Will Ferrell is a die-hard soccer fan. His obsession with the game is so great that the Saturday night live star invested in his home team Los Angeles FC, better known as LAFC, becoming co-owner of the MLS franchise in 2016.
Nicknamed “The Black and Gold,” the team is also co-owned by other entertainment and sports glitterati. These include basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, motivational speaker Tony Robbins, YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley, and US television stars Allen and Mark Shapiro.
Additionally, US Women’s National Team (USWNT) legend Mia Hamm Garciaparra and her husband and former MLB All-Star Nomar Garciaparra own minority interests in the club.
(Source: Main image: kingjames/ Instagram, David Beckham/ @davidbeckham/ Instagram; Source: Feature image: David Beckham/ @davidbeckham/ Instagram)
This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia KL.