Some of the names included in the list are also the biggest clubs in the continent.
Football as a sport is a lucrative business opportunity. The massive popularity of the football clubs brings in tons of revenues from merchandise sales, tickets, broadcasting rights and sponsorship deals – which has gained the attention of American investors.
Investors from the USA have been in the business of owning majority shares in football clubs for many years now. Some of the high-profile takeovers have taken place in the last couple of decades.
Here are the top five European football clubs who have American owners.
5. Elliott Management Corporation – AC Milan
Elliott Management Corporation is an investment management firm from the United States based out of West Palm Beach, Florida. The corporation was founded by Paul Singer, who is also the CEO of the management firm.
The Italian football giants, AC Milan were bought by the American owners in 2018. Elliott Management Corp. bought 99.93% stakes in the club and began making changes at the board level immediately.
4. Frank McCourt – Olympique Marseille
French Ligue 1 side, Olympique Marseille was bought by American businessman, Frank McCourt in 2016. The 67-year-old paid approximately €45 million to finalize the deal and now owns 95% shares of the club.
His other ventures also include the ownership of the Los Angeles Marathon, which is an annual running event held in California.
3. Stan Kroenke – Arsenal
Stan Kroenke first stepped into investment in Arsenal in April 2009, when he bought 9.9% shares. However, he became Arsenal’s sole stakeholder after the American bought out the remaining shares from Alisher Usmanov, a billionaire from Russia, for a price in the region of £550 million.
Kroenke is the owner of Kroenke Sports & Entertainment, an American company who are the owners of Arsenal, Los Angeles Rams from the National Football League, Denver Nuggets from the National Basketball Association and Colorado Rapids from the Major League Soccer among several other ventures.
2. Fenway Sports Group – Liverpool
Liverpool were bought by the Fenway Sports Group on 15 October 2010, for a price in the region of £300m. FSG is not only the parent company of the Premier League club, but also owns the prestigious Boston Red Sox in the United States that play in the Major League Baseball.
John Henry and Thomas Werner are the founding members of the sports company. They also own Liverpool’s stadium, Anfield and are the sole stakeholders in the football club.
1. The Glazer Family – Manchester United
Perhaps the most popular and talked about owners due to the popularity of the club, the Glazer Family are the owners of Manchester United. Malcolm Glazer first announced his stake in the club in September 2003 and gradually, he increased the amount of shares owned by buying out from the other stakeholders.
By the next couple of years, Malcolm Glazer was the sole stakeholder of the club and the overall takeover cost around £800 million. However, the capital used to buy Manchester United came from loans against the club’s assets which incurred debt on the club itself, thereby infuriating the fans who opposed the takeover.