US stars Brady, James, and Watt join English soccer trend

US stars Brady, James, and Watt join English soccer trend

The Rise of US Sporting Icons as Co-owners of British Soccer Clubs

Tom Brady

Tom Brady, the legendary quarterback and seven-time Super Bowl champion, has joined the ranks of US sporting icons investing in British soccer. He recently acquired a minority stake in Birmingham City, making him a part of the growing trend of American celebrities buying into English football. This trend also includes names like Jordan Spieth, JJ Watt, LeBron James, Ryan Reynolds, and Rob McElhenney.

The question arises – what is it about British clubs that has captured the imagination of these celebrities? According to Simon Chadwick, a professor of sport and geopolitical economy, the brand power and charismatic influence that these high-profile names bring play a significant role. They become associated with the clubs, much like the faces of renowned brands, building equity in the minds of key stakeholders.

The financial rewards for success in the English Premier League can be astronomical. Television revenue, a critical source of funding for top division clubs, is divided among the twenty teams based on equal distribution, performance, and facilities fees for televised matches. Manchester City, for example, earned £153 million (around $195 million) for winning the league in the 2021-22 season. This financial potential is undoubtedly appealing to investors like Reynolds and McElhenney, who aspire to see their club, Wrexham AFC, compete in the Premier League.

There is also a gap in the market that US investors are keen to exploit. British clubs have traditionally focused less on revenue maximization, resulting in an outdated and inefficient income system. US investors recognize these inefficiencies and see an opportunity to profit by fixing what they perceive as problems in the system.

Compared to the more developed US sports industry, the UK soccer industry falls short. There is a belief among those in the US sports business that British clubs are not maximizing their potential. Fans also desire a customer-centric approach, better facilities, stadiums, players, and overall improvement in their experience.

Moreover, becoming co-owners of soccer clubs offers a way for retiring athletes to stay involved in the sporting world. The short and early peak of an athlete’s career often leads to financial challenges after retirement. Investing in long-term revenue-generating assets, such as soccer clubs, has become a serious consideration for athletes. Additionally, involvement in sports beyond their own provides a sense of social responsibility and a chance to give back.

The rise of US sporting icons as co-owners of British soccer clubs signifies an exciting new chapter in the sports and entertainment landscape. With their financial resources, brand power, and desire to create change, these celebrities are shaping the future of English football. As the partnership between American investors and British clubs continues to unfold, we can expect further transformations and innovations within the world’s most popular sport.