Celebrity-owned football clubs: A welcome investment or bad news?

Over recent years you may have seen Hollywood A-listers making the news for buying football clubs. This is not a new phenomenon, but it is a hobby that is becoming more popular among celebrity circles. With the likes of sports professionals such as David Beckham and singers such as Elton John owning football clubs, we’re taking a deeper look into why these investments are so popular and how valuable they can be to football teams.

If you’re keen to learn more about the rise of celebrity-owned football clubs and their advantages and disadvantages, or if you’re just curious about which celebs own which clubs, keep reading as we cover these topics. 

Why are celebrities buying football clubs?

Football is the most popular sport in the world, loved by fans and loyal supporters across the globe, and this of course includes celebrities who enjoy watching and playing football. For some, buying a stake or share in a team is seen as a passive investment, but for others it’s a way to become more involved in day-to-day operations. It is a given that A-listers will have plenty of disposable income in which to buy these shares, and many of them see the value in investment, with plenty of marketing opportunities and long-term financial gain. However, others are less profit-motivated in their decision making, and seem to have a genuine interest in supporting smaller clubs and helping them to progress into higher leagues. 

Celebrities aren’t likely to disclose how much money they invest or why they are choosing to invest, but it’s easy to make an assumption based on how often they can be seen participating in club activities and operations, and whether they have previously expressed interest in the sport. In most cases however, we can assume that these lucrative business deals are made as a way to financially benefit both club and celebrity owner. 

What are the benefits of celebrity-owned football clubs?

Overall, it seems that most people invest in football teams for a combination of money, international status, and interest in the sport. If we dive deeper into what benefits there are beyond financial, there are some other advantages to celebrity endorsements which strengthen support to accept this type of ownership.

Celebrity endorsements attract sponsors

Sponsorships are a lucrative revenue stream for the majority of football clubs, with smaller clubs often relying on them to fund new kits and activities. Clubs that have a famous owner are more likely to secure higher value sponsorships, especially for brands that have worked with that celebrity on other projects.

More publicity and accountability

Buying a football team doesn’t just act as a marketing strategy to boost international status for celebrities, it also helps to make football teams more well known. For example, Ryan Reynolds’ and Rob McElhenney’s acquisition of Wrexham FC made headlines across several media outlets and newspapers, putting the club on the map. This type of publicity gives teams a chance to show off their skills and make their way up the ranks. 

Similarly, celebrities don’t easily slip under the radar. Hounded by paparazzi on a regular basis, celebrities are always in the public eye and have to be accountable for their actions, especially when making big purchases that affect large groups of people. Fans hope that this type of fame will ensure clubs are run smoothly and pragmatically due to the association with celebrity image.

Additionally, this means that celebrities can advocate for women’s sport by investing in and publicising women’s teams. This is a welcome benefit, especially as women’s football continues to grow in popularity.

Community pride

Football has always been a sport that brings communities together, especially when considering local football teams. Having celebrity endorsement can strengthen this, and allow the owner to build a new sense of community in areas where it may be lacking. 

Are there many disadvantages of celebrity-owned football clubs?

There isn’t a definitive list of disadvantages caused by celebrities buying football clubs. The main issue seems to be with fans, particularly as the wrong celebrity could attract bad press or be perceived poorly by the fan base. Whilst some supporters welcome the investment and the publicity that comes with it, others worry that celebrities are buying football clubs for the wrong reasons and would rather the team be owned by someone who has genuine interest in the sport. 

For celebrities, the disadvantages are direct opposites of the advantages. They could risk losing money, gaining bad publicity, or be pressured by the team or its supporters. There are also plenty of regulations and laws that need to be followed, which can complicate ownership if these requirements are not met.

Celebrities that own football clubs

If you’re curious about which celebrities have already bought into the idea of club ownership, we’ve compiled a list of some of the most famous A-listers who have shares or outright own a club. This is not an all inclusive list, and it is one that continues to grow:

  • Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney - Wrexham FC & Necaxa
  • Lebron James - shares in Liverpool FC & AC Milan
  • Will Ferrell - shares in Leeds United & Los Angeles FC
  • Elton John - Watford FC
  • David Beckham - Inter Miami & Salford City
  • Natalie Portman - Angel City FC
  • Michael B. Jordan - AFC Bournemouth
  • Mindy Kaling - shares of Swansea City
  • Naomi Osaka - North Carolina Courage
  • Matthew McConaughey - Washington Commanders & Austin FC
  • Stormzy - AFC Croydon Athletic
  • Drake - AC Milan
  • Macklemore - Seattle Sounders
  • Delia Smith - Norwich FC
  • Cristiano Ronaldo - Real Valladolid

Learn more about the world of football with Avec Sport

Not only do we pride ourselves on supplying teams with high quality football clothing, accessories, and equipment, we’re also passionate about supplying football enthusiasts with the latest news and developments. That’s why, on our locker room blog, you’ll find a range of interesting topics that can help you develop your skills and broaden your knowledge of the sport. Browse through the blog to find your next read, or take a look at our sports clothing if you prefer to be on the pitch rather than involved in the managerial side of things.