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Red Bull: How the conglomerate is making strides in football?

Published at :April 29, 2020 at 10:48 PM
Modified at :February 28, 2023 at 11:55 PM
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Tarkesh Jha

The Austrian company has taken over several football teams across the world and have made significant development in the sport.

The emergence of Red Bull from an energy drink manufacturer to a lucrative group determined to make its mark in world football has been a fascinating journey altogether.

They have vested interests in multiple sports, but their attempts to gradually reap the rewards of the seeds that they have sown in football seem to be an interesting topic to ponder upon. The company currently owns several football clubs throughout the world in RB Leipzig, New York Red Bulls, Red Bull Brasil/Red Bull Bragantino, and FC Red Bull Salzburg.

Red Bull’s commercialization and rather ruthless approach to overturn the complete structures of the clubs that they have taken over initially invited a fair amount of wrath from some quarters of the footballing fraternity.

They do things in their way, efficiently, however, often at the cost of the displeasure of the original supporters of the clubs. However, this method and approach has looked to work in their favor so far. Without further ado, let us assess the clubs and how they have fared ever since coming under Red Bull’s umbrella:  

FC Red Bull Salzburg

Red Bull’s takeover of Salzburg has been often described as radical from the commencement. There was unrest since the beginning, with the company seeming to be hell-bent to erase every bit of history associated with the entity before they came into the picture.

This even led to them proclaiming on the official website that the club was formed in 2005; which was later removed due to timely interference from the Austrian Football Association. On the field though, they have been peerlessly dominant.

RB Salzburg have claimed a whopping 10 Austrian Bundesliga titles starting from the 2006-07 season. On the four occasions when they couldn’t emerge victorious, they finished as the runners-up. Their other honors include six Austrian Cup championships and a UEFA Youth League title in 2016-17.

The latter is more prominent considering that it also somewhat showcases that Red Bull have managed to change the dynamics of the club upside down and that is reflected in the success of their junior teams too.

Remarkable talents such as Sadio Mane, Naby Keita and more recently Erling Braut-Halland have used RB Salzburg as a launch-pad to elevate their respective careers to greater heights.

Despite their unmatched success domestically, efforts still might have to be made to replicate similar consistency on the European front though.

New York Red Bulls

Previously referred to as the MetroStars, Red Bull purchased the club in March 2006. Accordingly, a complete makeover and rebranding followed after which the name was altered to New York Red Bulls.

They compete in the Eastern Conference of the Major League Soccer. More importantly, this is an interesting city as it hosts both the New York Red Bulls and New York City FC; arguably two of the most expansive and prominent football groups currently.

However, their relative success on the field is a bit intriguing to assess. They have won the Supporters’ Shield thrice since 2013, but no MLS Cup has been secured so far.

On the other hand, the most remarkable moment in the earlier years could possibly be landing Thierry Henry to the club in 2010.

The Frenchman is the third highest goal-scorer in their history, having netted on 52 occasions during his nearly five-year long stint with them.

It could be argued that the focus has primarily shifted to Red Bulls’ venture in Germany i.e. RB Leipzig. Hence, their interests in New York and the MLS have donned a secondary role for the time being.

RB Leipzig

RasenBallsport Bull Leipzig is by far the conglomerate’s most ambitious project in the world of football thus far. Red Bull acquired the playing rights of SSV Markranstadt in 2009.

The desire was to get promoted to the first-tier Bundesliga in eight years. Their progress has been seamless until now, as they secured a place in topmost level of German football in May 2016.

Later on, they even managed to qualify for the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League as they had become the runners-up of the Bundesliga in their very debut season.

Leipzig made easy work of the lower tiers of the system, and they have proven that they are worthy enough to play against the best football clubs in the country on a regular basis.

Red Bull had made it clear from the start that they craved for total control over the proceedings of the club, which is evident by their absolutely harmonious progression through the levels over the years.

They even managed to lure the most lucrative and sought after young manager in the circuit; Julian Nagelsmann, who had attracted interest even from the likes of Bayern Munich possibly but chose Leipzig as his destination.

In the 2019/20 Bundesliga season, Leipzig are placed in the third spot and are separated by merely five points from the first-placed Bayern Munich.

Meanwhile, they even made their way to the quarterfinals of the UEFA Champions League by notching a 4-0 aggregate victory over Tottenham Hotspur in the present campaign. Needless to say, the road ahead looks quite bright for this particular club.  

Red Bull Brasil - Red Bull Bragantino

The individual existence of Red Bull Brasil and Clube Atletico Bragantino and their subsequent merger makes up for an intriguing case. RB Brasil was formed in 2007 and it competes professionally in the Sao Paulo state’s professional football level.

They started off their journey from the Campeonato Paulista Segunda Divisão, which is the fourth tier of Sao Paulo’s state football.

They made timely promotions from thereon but they eventually failed to get inducted into the Campeonato Brasileiro Série A (top-tier of Brazil’s football league system).

Accordingly, Red Bull partnered along with Clube Atletico Bragantino in April 2019. As a part of this collaboration, Red Bull gained control over Bragantino’s management and football-related assets and issues.

This association came into effect when Bragantino were playing in the Serie B, and they effectively became the champions of the 2019 edition. Due to the same, Red Bull Bragantino is now a part of the Serie A.

This was a timely move by the company, as they acquired the ownership of Bragantino rather than biding the time and waiting for Red Bull Brasil to step up the gruesome ladder gradually.

However, Red Bull Brasil still remains active. It would function as a development team of Red Bull Bragantino. In the 2020 season, they would compete in the Campeonato Paulista Série A2.

It is the second-level of Sao Paulo state’s second tier of professional football championship.

Note: In addition to these clubs, Red Bull also holds ownership of FC Liefering which plays in the second-tier of Austria’s professional football level. It acts as a feeder club to FC Red Bull Salzburg and is also known as their farm team. It was instrumental in Salzburg’s victory in the 2016/17 edition of the UEFA Youth League.