Tom Brady and Birmingham City: How have other US celebrity owners fared?

With Birmingham City announcing that seven-time Super Bowl champion Tom Brady has become a minority owner of the club, the trend of celebrities from the US investing in football clubs is becoming all the more popular.

As more and more A-listers are becoming involved with the global game, we look at three other American celebrities who have bought into English football and the successes of such investments to date…

Ryan Reynolds & Rob McElhenney, Wrexham AFC

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After purchasing AFC Wrexham for £2m in November 2020, it wasn’t long before new owners Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney had won over the hearts of the Wrexham faithful. Since becoming involved with the club, Wrexham have seen a steady improvement, culminating in the fairytale ending last campaign. After edging out Notts County by four points to become champions of the National League, Wrexham booked their place in the fourth tier of English football, the EFL League Two, for the first time since the 2007/08 season. With many fans accrediting the club’s recent success to the ownership of Reynolds and McElhenney, Wrexham are only headed in one direction, up. A feel-good Hollywood story if there ever was one. 

LeBron James, Liverpool FC 

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Back in 2011, LeBron James purchased a 2% minority ownership stake in Liverpool FC for a $6.5m dollar price. Since investing in the club, Liverpool have enjoyed great success, most notably winning the Champions League in 2019 and the Premier League in 2020. In 2021, the Los Angeles Lakers star converted his ownership stake in Liverpool to a 1% stake in Fenway Sports Group, who are the majority shareholders in LFC, among other sports teams around the globe. While Liverpool’s recent success is by no means attributed to James’ involvement in the club, the NBA superstar’s investment has indeed paid off – with his stake being valued at a reported $85 million in 2021. In March 2023, Nike announced a collaboration between James and Liverpool, with football shirts and basketball shoes selling out within a matter of hours. A mutually beneficial investment, James is a self-proclaimed Liverpool fan and claims he and his family have enjoyed following the recent success of Jurgen Klopp’s men. 

Michael B. Jordan, AFC Bournemouth

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In December 2022, Michael B. Jordan was confirmed as a part-time owner of AFC Bournemouth in partnership with American businessman William Foley. When asked why he decided to invest in Bournemouth, a club who have bounced between the Premier League and Championship for the past few years, Jordan said: “One reason I wanted to invest is that there was so much potential there”. Indeed, after avoiding relegation and booking their spot in English football’s top flight for the upcoming season, the club have been busy in the transfer window. They have brought in five players to date, and are heavily tipped to land highly-rated 19-year-old Alex Scott from Bristol City FC for a reported £25m fee. While Foley and Jordan’s tenure as Bournemouth owners is still young, it is clear the determination and desire to reach new heights for the club is evident.

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