Tom Brady has become the latest celebrity superstar to have announced his involvement within football, with the NFL legend taking part-ownership of Birmingham City.
In a stunning announcement, Brady – who retired in February regarded as arguably the best quarterback of all time after seven Super Bowl wins – revealed he has become chairman of a new advisory board at the Championship side.
— Birmingham City FC (@BCFC) August 3, 2023
The 46-year-old is not the first celebrity to venture into the world of football club ownership and we’ve looked at six other big names who have had shares in clubs.
Six big name celebrities who invested in football clubs
Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney (Wrexham)
There was widespread confusion and excitement when Wrexham’s takeover was confirmed in February 2021, with the fifth-tier football club from a working-class town in north Wales entrusted into the hands of Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney.
The former is one of the highest-grossing film actors of all time, having become a Hollywood heartthrob across a number of films and earned incredible commercial success with his title role in Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018).
Together with friend and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor McElhenney, the duo won the backing of the Wrexham Supporters Trust to take charge of the National League side, a world away from the glitz and glamour of Hollywood.
Interest since has understandably been high, with the ‘Welcome to Wrexham’ documentary profiling their early journey as novice football club owners.
Welcome to Wrexham Season 2: Charles in Charge. pic.twitter.com/TrwPkIMCzX
— Ryan Reynolds (@VancityReynolds) December 9, 2022
So far the regime has proven a success on and off the pitch, securing promotion back into the Football League for the first time in 15 years in 2022/23.
“I’ve only been the owner of a football club for a very short time,” Reynolds said in 2021.
“So far I’ve found it to be very time-consuming, emotionally exhausting, financially idiotic and utterly addictive.”
The pair – who invested an initial £2m to purchase the club – were handed the Diolch Y Ddraig (Dragon Award) by the Welsh government, the Welsh FA and TV channel S4C in November 2022 for for promoting Wales and the Welsh language.
Indications so far suggest the high-profile ownership are in it for the long-term, while the publicity Wrexham have received has been unprecedented for a club of such scale. This summer the Welsh outfit headed for a pre-season tour of the USA and took on Chelsea and Manchester United in glamour friendlies.
LeBron James (Liverpool)
LeBron James’ partnership with Fenway Sports Group (FSG) saw the basketball icon purchase a minority stake in Liverpool, following the American group’s takeover of the Premier League side in 2011.
James acquired a two percent stake in the Reds with Tom Werner, FSG and Liverpool chairman, having discussed the benefits of the deal at the time.
“LeBron and Liverpool each has a powerful presence internationally, with particular strength in Asia, but we feel the business opportunities for both working and being identified together in emerging international markets will result in unforeseen opportunities that neither would have been able to realise alone.”
James exchanged his stake to become an official partner of Fenway Sports Group in 2021, making him a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox, New England Sports Network, RFK Racing, and Liverpool. The two percent stake of the 4× NBA Most Valuable Player cost £4.7m in April 2011, but is now valued at $44m (£38.3m) according to Forbes.
Looking good, @KingJames 👌😎
— Liverpool FC (@LFC) August 12, 2020
Elton John (Watford)
Sir Elton John is an iconic name in the music world and has been a key figure in the modern success of his boyhood football club, Watford FC.
After success in his industry, John became chairman and director of Watford in 1976 and, after the appointment of Graham Taylor as manager, led the club through the divisions of English football, investing large sums to take the Hornets from the fourth tier to the top division.
Their rise was such that Watford challenged Liverpool for the title in 1983, before falling short to end the campaign as runners-up. He sold the club in 1987, but repurchased it from Jack Petchey a decade later.
— Watford Football Club (@WatfordFC) June 16, 2022
He stepped down from his role as chairman in 2002, but continued as president and has been a key stakeholder in the club in recent years. In December 2014, the club named a new stand at Vicarage Road the ‘Sir Elton John Stand’.
The 75-year-old is set to call time on his music career once his ‘Farewell Yellow Brick Road Tour’ ends next summer and has outlined his intention for greater involvement at Watford post-music.
“Once I’m done touring, I want to get my hands dirty, get back involved with the club – we’ve got a great team, a great manager, and I’m so hopeful for the future.”
Will Ferrell (Los Angeles FC)
Film funnyman Will Ferrell was named as a co-owner of MLS franchise Los Angeles FC in 2016, an expansion side which began competing in the 2018 season.
The actor – whose biggest hits include Elf (2003), Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004) and Step Brothers (2008) – joined forces with a large investment team that also includes basketball legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson, US women’s soccer icon Mia Hamm and YouTube co-founder Chad Hurley to launch LAFC.
The newly-formed side began with ambitions to challenge Los Angeles Galaxy, one of MLS’ most successful sides, with derby fixtures between the teams now dubbed as El Tráfico.
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) November 5, 2022
LAFC have had notable success despite their short existence, winning a first Supporters’ Shield in 2019. In 2022, the club won a second Supporters’ Shield and a first MLS Cup after beating Philadelphia Union on penalties. Marquee arrival Gareth Bale scored a last-gasp equaliser in extra time before LAFC won via the shootout.
Ferrell, meanwhile, was pictured enjoying himself as he drank beer out of the trophy in the resulting celebrations on the pitch.
Matthew McConaughey (Austin FC)
‘Soccer’ might not be the biggest sport in the United States, but MLS has attracted its fair share of household names. Matthew McConaughey is part owner of Austin FC, a club formed in 2018 and who began to compete in the 2021 season.
The 53-year-old is one of the most recognisable names in the film industry and star of romantic comedies including The Wedding Planner (2001) and How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days (2003), before later earning acclaim for major roles in The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) and Dallas Buyers Club (2013), the latter of which saw him win the Academy Award for Best Actor.
Austin FC’s first season proved a challenging one as the fledgling franchise finished second-bottom of the Western Conference, but there was major improvement in 2022 as the side progressed to the Western Conference final – earning qualification to the CONCACAF Champions League – before losing to Will Ferrell’s Los Angeles FC.
Matthew McConaughey hyping up the Austin FC fans with the Wolf of Wall Street chant 🐺💚
(via devonpbailey/IG) pic.twitter.com/Wp2xyTpiAw
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) March 4, 2022
McConaughey was seen hyping up the club’s supporters during an MLS clash in March 2022, as he mimicked the chest-thumping song that became an iconic scene for character Mark Hanna in The Wolf of Wall Street.
Michael B Jordan (Bournemouth)
Bournemouth announced the names behind the club’s takeover in December 2022 and revealed that Hollywood A-lister Michael B Jordan has become a minority shareholder in the Premier League side.
The actor – best known for his portrayals of Erik Killmonger in Black Panther (2018) and its sequel Black Panther: Wakanda Forever (2022) and Adonis Creed in the Creed franchise that followed the Rocky film series – is part of a consortium led by American investor Bill Foley that completed a £120m takeover of the Cherries.
On Jordan’s involvement, a statement on the Bournemouth website read: “The minority ownership group is led by award-winning actor, director and producer Michael B. Jordan and Nullah Sarker (The Players Tribune, Davis Cup). AFC Bournemouth is Michael’s first foray into professional sports ownership, as he and Nullah will work closely with Bill in areas including global marketing and internationalisation of the club.”
Michael B. Jordan is now a part-owner of Premier League side Bournemouth, following the £120million takeover of the club 👊 pic.twitter.com/SZMbdh6ZMM
— DAZN Football (@DAZNFootball) December 13, 2022