Todd Boehly, the co-owner of Chelsea, wants to buy another club. Not content with having bought the Stamford Bridge club for £4.25 billion, acting as Director of Football, and head of recruitment for a while, and bankrolling a spend of more than £600 million across two transfer windows, he has ambitious plans for a multi-ownership model.
He has taken the idea from existing such models, with the City and Red Bull groups among the best known.
Boehly’s sports background
Although Boehly amassed his fortune through private equity investments in the US, he was already involved with sports before his consortium bought Chelsea. He owns a minority stake in the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team, and is also owner of the basketball franchise, the Los Angeles Sparks.
In addition, he owns a Fantasy Sports company and an esports business.
Multi-ownership models are common in the US
Multi-ownership models are common in the US.
For example, the Kroenke family, who won Arsenal, also owns the NFL team the Los Angeles Rams, the NBA team the Denver Nuggets, NHL side the Colorado Rapids, and also the Lacrosse team the Colorado Mammoths.
Meanwhile, FSG (Fenway Sports Group) Liverpool’s owners, also own the Boston Red Sox. The Pittsburgh Penguins, and are also involved in NASCAR racing and minor league baseball.
Examples in football
There are several examples in Football.
For example, the City group comprises, among others, Manchester City, New York City, Girona, Melbourne City, and clubs in Uruguay, France, Japan, and India.
Meanwhile the Red Bull Group not only comprises RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg, and the New York Red Bulls, but includes a diverse range of sporting interests, perhaps the most prominent of which is the Red Bull Formula One team, the reigning driver and constructor world Champions.
Among the benefits of such models are global brand exposure, synergies in operations, and the development of an in-house market for talent. For example, it has not been uncommon for Manchester City to send some of their most promising young players to one of their “sister clubs” in order to gain valuable first-team exposure.
In the process, they have also avoided some of the loan fees usually associated with such a move.
Currently owners are not allowed to own more than one club in England, but there is nothing to stop them acquiring clubs in different countries. UEFA does have rules about clubs owned by the same people playing each other in European competitions, but there are legitimate ways around this.
Boehly has tried before
In fact, this is not the first time that Boehly and his other co-owners, have tried to expand their football portfolio. Last September, it was reported that they were looking at clubs in Brazil, whilst they made an approach to another Ligue 1 side, Sochaux, but were turned down.
Founded in 1906, Strasbourg are currently 15th in Ligue 1.
Their most successful days are in the past – it has been 44 years since they won their solitary league title, and, since then, they have spent a number of seasons moving between the first and lower tiers of French football.
Fans of the clubs hoping that a Boehly takeover would result in a massive injection of funds that would enable it to compete with PSG, Marseille and Monaco for top honours in French football, are likely to be disappointed.
All the indications suggest that Boehly intends to use it as a “feeder club” for Chelsea, a place to send some of the club’s youngsters where he can make sure that the right coaches are giving messages to the players.
The jury is still out on Boehly
As far as Chelsea fans are concerned, the jury is still out on Boehly and his other co-owners.
Whilst they will have been glad to how much money has been invested in the transfer money, the decision to fire Thomas Tuchel, the man who brought them Champions League success, and replace him with Graham Potter raised more than a few eyebrows at the time.
And Potter is struggling, with the team only tenth in the Premier League, and with their chances of qualifying for the Champions League again next season looking increasingly slim.
Boehly continues to insist that Potter’s job is safe, but the performance of the team is not what Chelsea fans have come to expect, especially after so much money has been spent.
VISIT OUR BLOG TO GET YOUR FIX FOR ALL OF THE MOST CURRENT FOOTBALL NEWS STORIES & FEATURES