With the purchase of Chelsea by the business group headed by Todd Boehly, Clearlake Capital, Mark Walter and Hansjoerg Wyss, there will already be 10 teams of the 20 that make up the Premier League that will have American capital among their coffers, six of them in a majority: Arsenal, Burnley, Crystal Palace, Liverpool, Manchester United and now the Blues.

But that figure goes further: in total, 16 of the 20 clubs in the English top division have some kind of foreign capital, from various latitudes such as Thailand, Saudi Arabia, Iran, China, Serbia, Italy and at the time Russia , before Roman Abramovich had to sell his property from the Chelsea by official government order.

As with the players on the pitch, English football is becoming a showcase for global economic might, with ever-higher figures expecting an equally strong return on investment through lavish signings and world-class facilities. .

The purchase of Chelsea by Boehly and company (Boehly is also co-owner of the Dodgers in the Major Leagues and the Lakers in the NBA) is valued at 3.1 billion dollars, which would be the record for the largest acquisition for a sports property in history, surpassing the 2.4 billion that Steven Cohen paid for the New York Mets in 2020.

With this, it enters the line of American owners in the premier league, in which the following are already: Stan Kroenke with Arsenal; Wesley Edens at Aston Villa; ALK Capital in Burnley; Joshua Harris, David Blitzer and John Textor at Crystal Palace; 49ers Enterprises with Leeds United; John Henry and Tom Werner with Liverpool; Silver Lake with Manchester City; the Glazer family with Manchester United; and Albert Smith with West Ham.

In general, only Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Norwich City and Tottenham Hotspur are the only teams that do not have some kind of foreign capital, because although Welsh businessman Michael Wynn-Jones is in Norwich, he belongs to British nationality.

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“There is new money at Chelsea, Blackburn Rovers also so many years ago when Jack Walker put money in, Leicester City winning the league with capital from Thailand, Manchester City and the wealth of Abu Dhabi, I think we are a stronger league because of all these. investments, a more competitive and admired league around the world”, admitted Gary Neville, former Manchester United and England player.

There are properties in which up to three nationalities collaborate, such as Manchester City, whose majority (78%) belongs to the Abu Dhabi United Group, of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, together with 12% of China Media Capital and the recent incorporation of 10% of the American conglomerate Silver Lake.

The citizen team has positioned itself for the last three years as the number 1 squad in value in the Premier League, even exceeding 1,000 million dollars, with which it has competed to remain the winner of the league, which would be about to add one more star in 2022.

“There are no more sports teams being made, so there is implicit in that the value of scarcity. We have focused on the big brands. If you talk to people who know about this, they will tell you that there are five great brands in the United States: there are the Lakers, Dodgers, Raiders, Cowboys and Yankees. Our whole goal is to focus on super big brands, ”Todd Boehly himself mentioned to the Sports Business Journal a few days before finalizing the acquisition of him by Chelsea and reaffirming that his interest is to further enhance such a big brand.

According to a study by Brand Finance, seven Premier League teams kept their financial indicator of gross operating profit calculated before the deductibility of financial expenses (known by its acronym in English as Ebitda) in the black after the pandemic , which are Manchester United, Liverpool, Tottenham Hotspur, Arsenal, Wolverhampton, Burnley and Chelsea.

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“The general perception of football clubs is that they are a volatile business. In fact, depending on the activity around publicly traded clubs, the share price can fluctuate substantially based on short-term performance on the pitch or transfer market activity. However, the likes of Manchester City, Liverpool and Manchester United are indicative of the fact that a long-term investment at the right price can deliver excellent financial returns for those willing to take the initiative.

The first to open the door to these great investments was precisely Chelsea in 2003, with the purchase of the Russian tycoon Abramovich, with capital in the steel industry. He managed to put the team in the elite of English football and from there others have tried to copy his model, as is currently the case with Liverpool, a Champions League finalist for the third time in the last four years and whose owners are shared with the Boston Red Major League Sox.

A turning point in the globalization of football in England also came from the decision of Margaret Thatcher, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, to deregulate the financial sector, dismantling state ownership and defending the free movement of capital. Thus, the Football Association (The FA) in 1983 allowed clubs to evade a rule that prohibited paying directors, allowing clubs to be listed on the stock market.

Financial sustainability and large revenues from broadcast rights have also attracted foreign investors to Premier League clubs. In addition to the objective of making a return on investment, the prospect of acquiring prestige and public image, as well as the potential for advertising power and brand building that comes with acquiring a club are the focal points of attraction for many entrepreneurs.



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