The Changing World of Celebrity Football Club Ownership

With more celebrities getting into the world of football, we take a look at how their roles with their respective clubs are beginning to evolve. 

Recently, there has been a flurry of new celebrity investment in the world of football. While having a high-profile ownership group is nothing new to the sport, the way in which the faces of these groups are interacting with their clubs has evolved rapidly.


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Will Ferrell, part of MLS side LAFC’s ownership group, is an example of how the typical celebrity owner of the past has acted. They take part in media content and occupy a lot of camera time, and are often the subject of mid-game cutaways during TV broadcasts. But they rarely impact footballing decisions at the club, if at all.

In 2022, actor Michael B. Jordan became a minority stakeholder in AFC Bournemouth, a smaller club by English Premier League standards that has overcome unbelievable odds to become a team that consistently competes at or near the top of the English footballing pyramid.

michael b jordan bournemouth

At first, it seemed like his addition to the ownership group was to provide some name recognition, but in recent months, it has become clear that Jordan wants to be more hands-on with parts of Bournemouth’s business. The most recent piece of that role is that Jordan, arguably one of the biggest movie stars today, will help design a Bournemouth kit.

Do you realize how absurd that sentence is? Bournemouth is a football club with a stadium that barely fits 11,000 people in a town with fewer people than most suburbs in the United States. It’s a club that was in the fourth tier of English football less than two decades ago.

It would be like if Jordan took time off a Creed sequel to make a cameo in a student film (no disrespect to AFC Bournemouth).

While that is a touch hyperbolic in terms of comparison, the idea of a mega-popular celebrity who is probably more well-known than the club he’s an owner of also feels like a fever dream.

In North American sports, there are few opportunities for new owners to join a hyper-valued franchise for a “reasonable” sum. In Europe, South America, and beyond, football provides a new, more accessible investment opportunity, thanks to the large amount of lower division teams, and the notion that they can be promoted into the top tier. These clubs can have rapidly changing valuations purely based on where they are in their respective footballing pyramid.

wrexham fc

The likes of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney can buy a team for a relatively modest sum and then leverage their own commercial value to add value to the club, allowing them to rise up through the footballing pyramid with relative ease compared to clubs without star power in their ownership.

After all, do you think Wrexham gets promoted multiple times without the docu-series or Reynolds and McElhenney’s celebrity status? Star power doesn’t automatically mean better results on the field, but in leagues where even the slightest increase in wage bill or screen time can equate to improved recruitment, star power can provide a significant additional push through the lower leagues of English football.

It is hard to look at these teams and their situations without having the feeling of “the rich getting richer” because of how simple it seems for celebrities to increase their net worth with these investments. In the case of Wrexham FC, some estimate that since Reynolds and McElhenney purchased the club, they have increased the club’s value by at least four times the amount they paid for it. That increase will grow exponentially every time they get promoted and move closer to plying their trade in the Premier League.

The impact of these celebrities is also changing the visuals of these clubs. With Jordan’s design input on the upcoming Bournemouth kit, we could see an uptick in sales, particularly in the United States. It should come as no shock that Bournemouth isn’t in the top 10 in Premier League kit sales, however with Jordan’s influence, we could see the club hit yet another improbable milestone when the jersey ends up releasing.

While it is a particularly smart decision for more celebrities to buy low and sell high on smaller football clubs, the full effects this added cash influx will have on the European lower leagues is still yet to be seen. Could the bubble eventually burst, hurting the lower leagues of football even more than the growing inequality between larger and smaller clubs already has? Only time will tell, but right now, celebrity ownership is popular, interesting, and something that divides opinions.

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