Premier League: New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly joins long list of US owners in English top-flight


Todd Boehly has become the latest American tycoon to enter Premier League ownership after finally completing his Chelsea takeover on Wednesday.

Almost three months since Roman Abramovich put the Blues on the market after being sanctioned by the UK Government, a consortium led by Boehly has been approved by Ministers and the Premier League as his replacement after weeks of complications. 

The LA Dodgers chief is set to join a number of his compatriots in England’s top flight, and Sportsmail has taken a look at the full list of US Premier League owners following his £4.25bn takeover.

New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly has become the latest US tycoon in Premier League football

Arsenal

Owner/Investor: Stan Kroenke

Net worth: £8.6bn

Other clubs/franchises: LA Rams (NFL), Colorado Rapids (MLS), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL)

Style: Not afraid to upset supporters in order to benefit a club or franchise, as his controversial decision to move the Rams out of St Louis and back to Los Angeles in 2016 showed. 

The relocation, which included forking out £4bn on a new state-of-the-art stadium, broke the heart of his hometown St Louis yet, six years on, the Rams stand as Super Bowl champions and the third most-valuable franchise in the NFL.

Kroenke’s Colorado Rapids outfit finished second in the overall MLS standings last year before suffering defeat in the playoff quarter-final, while the Colorado Avalanche have produced top-two finishes in their last three NHL campaigns but will hope to get past the second round of the playoffs for the first time this season.

The Denver Nuggets, meanwhile, are yet to win the NBA playoffs despite finishing in the top two of the Western Conference for the past four seasons.

Stan Kroenke has drawn plenty of criticism from Arsenal supporters in his time as owner

Stan Kroenke has drawn plenty of criticism from Arsenal supporters in his time as owner

His LA Rams franchise, however, have enjoyed great success, winning last season's Super Bowl

His LA Rams franchise, however, have enjoyed great success, winning last season’s Super Bowl

Arsenal have collected four FA Cups since he took the reins however in the past five years they have failed to qualify for the Champions League. 

A lack of spending has cost the Gunners over the past decade, with research from Swiss Ramble in 2020 showing that Kroenke had not put a single penny into the club in five years. 

Influence: Kroenke’s son, Josh, is a non-executive director at the Emirates and is understood to have spelled the end for both Arsene Wenger and Unai Emery in north London. Vinai Venkatesham is the current CEO, but major decisions lie with Kroenke.

Popularity: The tycoon was already a deeply unpopular figure amongst Arsenal fans due to his lack of spending over the years and resentment from the club’s supporters intensified during last year’s European Super League fiasco.

The Gunners were one of six Premier League teams who originally agreed to join the controversial breakaway league, which sparked mass protests throughout the country.

Like the rest of their English colleagues, in the end Kroenke and Co were forced to make an embarrassing U-turn on the decision to sign up but Arsenal supporters remain desperate for him to cash in on the club and make way for a more free-spending owner.

Rating: 4/10 

Kroenke's son, Josh (left), is a non-executive director with significant influence at the Emirates

Kroenke’s son, Josh (left), is a non-executive director with significant influence at the Emirates

Aston Villa    

Owner/Investor: Wesley Edens

Net worth: £3.4bn

Other clubs/franchises: Milwaukee Bucks (NBA)

Style: A solid track record in his only other sporting venture. Since Edens and partner Marc Lasry bought the Bucks for £437m in 2014, the NBA franchise has enjoyed a rapid rise to eventually claim their first title for 50 years in 2021. 

Upon purchasing the Bucks he pledged to keep them in Wisconsin, as well as build a new 18,000-capacity arena – a promise he delivered on when the Fiserv Forum opened its doors in 2018.

The 60-year-old has spent the last four years with Villa after acquiring a 55 per cent stake alongside co-chairman Nassef Sawiris, and during that time they have managed to relieve the club of all debt through significant investment.

A net spend of £250m in the last four seasons has helped transform Villa from a Championship side into a mid-table Premier League team, while attracting the likes of Philippe Coutinho, Ollie Watkins and manager Steven Gerrard to the West Midlands. 

Wesley Edens (left) took the Aston Villa reins in 2018 alongside co-chairman Nassef Sawiris

Wesley Edens (left) took the Aston Villa reins in 2018 alongside co-chairman Nassef Sawiris

The pair have reduced Villa's debt and guided them back to the Premier League in that time

The pair have reduced Villa’s debt and guided them back to the Premier League in that time

Influence: Both Edens and Sawiris work alongside chief executive Christian Purslow, who was credited with bringing Gerrard to Villa Park at the end of last year. Purslow and sporting director Johan Lange are tasked with devising the club’s transfer strategy along with Gerrard, while any major decisions fall to the ownership.

Popularity: The decision to sell Jack Grealish to Manchester City for £100m initially went down badly with supporters, but Edens and Sawiris have used that fee to reinvest in the squad and finished the campaign with a net spend of -£2m. 

Overall, the new ownership has brought Villa forward over the past four years and supporters are optimistic about their future under the duo.

Rating: 7/10

Chelsea

Owner/Investor: Todd Boehly

Net worth: £3.6bn

Other clubs/franchises: LA Dodgers (MLB), LA Lakers (NBA), LA Sparks (WNBA)

Style: A savvy businessman who understands the importance of winning. 

When Boehly and a group of investors rocked up at Dodger Stadium in 2012, they inherited one of the most badly mismanaged teams in North American sports which had not reached the MLB playoffs for three years and failed to win a world series since 1988.

A decade on from their £1.7bn takeover, the Dodgers are now a franchise revived after ending their 32-year wait for a championship in 2020 and progressing to the playoffs in each of the last nine seasons. 

Much of their success of the past decade is down to Boehly, who marshalled a £7bn deal between Time Warner Cable and the Dodgers in 2013 to create regional network SportsNet LA, which broadcasted all of their games.

The cash generated from that deal flowed back into the insurance funds used to buy the Dodgers, before it was reinvested into the team’s payroll. Their dramatic resurrection under Boehly is certainly encouraging for Chelsea fans.

He is also part of the ownership groups with the LA Lakers and LA Sparks, the city’s men’s and women’s basketball teams which have enjoyed great success before and after his arrival.

In Boehly Chelsea are getting a businessman with a solid track record in the sporting world

In Boehly Chelsea are getting a businessman with a solid track record in the sporting world

The LA Dodgers co-owner has impressed Blues fans with his apparent desire to claim titles

The LA Dodgers co-owner has impressed Blues fans with his apparent desire to claim titles

Influence: Boehly’s consortium, Clearlake Capital Group, L.P, also consists of Swiss businessman Hansjörg Wyss and Dodgers co-owner Mark Walter. 

Current Chelsea chairman Bruce Buck and director Marina Granovskaia are expected to remain onboard despite their previous relationship with Abramovich. 

Nevertheless, as controlling owner, Boehly’s voice will be the most significant upstairs.

Popularity: While he is yet to officially start work in west London, Boehly has impressed Chelsea supporters with his strong comments on the value of winning titles.

He told Bloomberg in 2019: ‘The opportunity we had with the Dodgers was really about part-ownership with Los Angeles, how are we going to win, how are we going to drive championships and how are we going to build passion. If you look at what the Premier League offers, it’s all of those things.’ 

Rating: N/A

Crystal Palace

Owner/Investor: Joshua Harris, David S. Blitzer and John Textor

Net worth: Harris £5.7bn, Blitzer £1.3bn, Textor unknown

Other clubs/franchises: New Jersey Devils (NHL), Philadelphia 76ers (NBA), Real Salt Lake (MLS), Botafogo (Brazilian Serie A)

Style: Harris and Blitzer partnered to buy the Philadelphia 76ers in 2011 and the New Jersey Devils in 2013, but the duo are yet to claim a title with either franchise – failing to qualify for the NHL playoffs in eight of their nine seasons with the Devils.

Since matching co-owner Steve Parish’s stake at Selhurst Park, they have overseen mid to low-table finishes in the Premier League, largely a result of their mediocre net spend of £160m over the past five years. 

Last year the trio were joined on the board by Textor, who forked out £87.5m for a 40 per cent stake in the club. 

The Missouri-born businessman also purchased 90 per cent of Brazilian top-flight side Botafogo back in January, meaning he now has two new football ventures on his CV.

Joshua Harris (centre) and David S. Blitzer (right) have been Palace co-owners since 2015

Joshua Harris (centre) and David S. Blitzer (right) have been Palace co-owners since 2015

US businessman John Textor also acquired a 40 per cent stake in the Eagles last year

US businessman John Textor also acquired a 40 per cent stake in the Eagles last year

Influence: Parish remains Palace chairman despite the influx of investors in recent years, with Harris and Blitzer enjoying the same share. Yet it is Textor who now has significant influence over board-level decision after taking 40 per cent of the club.

Popularity: The 2021/22 campaign saw Palace make the greatest leap of their new US ownership, with a young side spearheaded by Patrick Vieira securing a 12th-place Premier League finish and reaching the FA Cup semi-finals. 

After spending £80m on reinforcements last summer, Textor, Harris and Blitzer have helped breathe new life into Palace and they have the backing of supporters to progress even further next season.

Rating: 6/10

Fulham 

Owner/Investor: Shahid Khan

Net worth: £6bn

Other clubs/franchises: Jacksonville Jaguars (NFL)

Style: A wealthy sports mogul with big ambition. Khan, who began his path to becoming the 291st richest man on the planet by selling car bumpers, took on his first sporting project when he acquired the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2012 – becoming the first person of an ethnic minority to own an NFL franchise in the process.

The Jags came from the NFL’s smallest market, but over the past decade they have flourished under the Pakistani-American billionaire, suffering a play-off defeat against New England Patriots in the 2017 campaign.

In his time at Fulham, Khan has been more than prepared to spend big when the side have been crying out for reinforcements. Over the past four seasons the Cottagers have produced a net spend of almost £150m, and it helped them storm home to the Championship title and Premier League promotion in 2021/22.

Yet, along with son and vice-chairman Tony and manager Marco Silva, Khan needs to nail their summer recruitment after heading straight back down in their last two top-flight campaigns. 

Shahid Khan has always been willing to spend as Fulham owner but has not reaped the rewards

Shahid Khan has always been willing to spend as Fulham owner but has not reaped the rewards

Influence: As vice-chairman, Tony likes to be in the thick of things and even conducted the interview with Silva prior to his appointment as manager last year. While his father is not as heavily involved, both he and Shahid hold all the power when it comes to key decisions at the Cottage.

Popularity: Tony’s outspoken nature has often rubbed Fulham fans up the wrong way over the years, especially when former manager Scott Parker took aim at him on a number of occasions throughout his stint in charge. Liverpool legend Jamie Carragher even branded Khan a ‘clown’ back in 2020.

Though despite calls for Tony to resign from his own position, Fulham supporters have never protested against his father’s ownership and are now upbeat ahead of their Premier League return.

On the flip side, Burnley’s own US chairman Alan Pace has sent the club packing in the opposite direction, with his decision to sack Sean Dyche in April eventually costing the Clarets on the final day of the season. 

Rating: 6/10

Leeds

Owner/Investor: 49ers Enterprises

Net worth: £3.3bn

Other clubs/franchises: San Francisco 49ers (NFL)

Style: They may have gone without a Super Bowl win since 1994, but the 49ers are an ever-present in the NFL playoffs and finished as runners-up in both the 2012 and 2019 seasons.

Denise York, majority owner of the 49ers, took over from father Edward Debartolo Sr in 2001, but it is the franchise’s investment arm 49ers Enterprises which initially bought a 15 per cent stake in Leeds in 2018. Earlier this year that figure was increased to 37 per cent.

Leeds have produced a net spend of almost £150m since the NFL outfit hopped on board four years, which has helped them gain Premier League promotion in 2020 and stay there. Two years on the club remains in the top flight after narrowly avoiding relegation this season. 

Influence: Italian businessman Andrea Radrizzani is majority shareholder at Elland Road with his company Aser Group Holding Pte Ltd owning a 56 per cent stake, meaning he remains the controlling owner. Nevertheless, The Athletic has revealed that 49ers Enterprises has an option to take 100 per cent of Leeds for a staggering £400m in 2024.

Popularity: Leeds fans were critical of the 49ers when Radrizzani made the call to part company with Marcelo Bielsa, who guided them back to the Premier League after 16 years, and replace him with American coach Jesse Marsch earlier this term. The United faithful felt their US co-owners were the driving force behind the decision to sack Bielsa, a deeply popular figure at Elland Road. Fortunately, Marsch managed to keep the club in the top flight to take the spotlight off Bielsa’s dismissal.

Rating: 5/10

The San Francisco 49ers' investment arm bought shares in Leeds in 2018 and plan to take full control of the club by 2024

The San Francisco 49ers’ investment arm bought shares in Leeds in 2018 and plan to take full control of the club by 2024

Liverpool

Owner/Investor: John W. Henry

Net worth: £3.6bn

Other clubs/franchises: Boston Red Sox (MLB), Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)

Style: A modest and timid persona in public but an owner highly motivated by success behind the scenes. 

Liverpool have not splashed as much case as their Premier League counterparts since Henry’s Fenway Sports Group rocked up in 2010, with research from Swiss Ramble in 2021 showing their net spend of £575m was almost half that of Chelsea, Manchester City and Manchester United’s.

Yet, smart recruitment in the Anfield boardroom has seen FSG propel the Reds back to the top of world football in the same way Henry managed with the Red Sox.

The MLB franchise had gone 86 years without a World Series before he delivered two in the space of three years, and under his ownership Liverpool became English champions for the first time in 30 years.

Henry and FSG’s decision to offload Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona for £130m in January 2019 and use the money to sign Virgil van Dijk and Alisson proved a masterstroke, with the duo and a host of other inspired transfers delivering four trophies over the past three seasons – and another Champions League final beckons on Saturday night. 

FSG also bought the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins in a reported $900 million deal last year, and added a notable investor in LeBron James, who already had a minority stake in Liverpool FC. 

John W. Henry has helped propel Liverpool back to the top of world football in recent years

John W. Henry has helped propel Liverpool back to the top of world football in recent years

The Reds have won four trophies in the last three seasons and could add another this weekend

The Reds have won four trophies in the last three seasons and could add another this weekend

Influence: Henry has often credited the two Mikes, part-owner Gordon and departing sporting director Edwards, with Liverpool’s success in recent years. He installs faith in his trusted lieutenants but remains interested in the club’s activities.

Popularity: In the first five years of their ownership Henry and FSG came under fire from Liverpool fans while being outspent by their top-flight rivals. However, their shrewd business of late and successful decision to replace Brendan Rodgers with Jurgen Klopp in 2015 has transformed their fortunes and finally won fans over.

Rating: 8/10

Manchester United

Owner/Investor: The Glazers

Net worth: £3.6bn

Other clubs/franchises: Tampa Bay Buccaneers (NFL)

Style: Money-driven and reluctant to communicate with fans.

The Glazers’ buyout of United in 2005 was met by fierce opposition from supporters, and 13 years on their ownership remains the subject of protests.

The American tycoons have not been afraid to invest in the team over the years, spending an estimated £1bn on transfers since their arrival 15 years ago. Yet, United also spent around £700m during that period on interest of loans taken out by the Glazers. 

United remain in almost £500m worth of debt as a result, with only £185m spent on infrastructure such as enhancing Old Trafford and the club’s training facilities.

Red Devils legend Gary Neville has criticised the Glazers for not resetting the culture of the club since Sir Alex Ferguson’s departure in 2013, which was the last year they claimed a Premier League title.

The Glazers have been deeply unpopular figures since arriving at Man United back in 2005

The Glazers have been deeply unpopular figures since arriving at Man United back in 2005

Meanwhile the Buccaneers, owned by the Glazers since 1995, finally got their hands on the Super Bowl again after 18 years in 2020 after shocking the world to win it in 2002. The NFL franchise went 13 years without a playoff appearance before their historic triumph.

Influence: Since Malcolm Glazer’s death in 2014, his sons Avram and Joel have stepped up as co-chairmen at Old Trafford. They worked closely with Ed Woodward before his recent departure as executive vice-chairman, with Richard Arnold recently replacing him.

Popularity: The Glazers are still overwhelmingly unpopular figures in Manchester, especially after their significant involvement in last year’s European Super League proposal.

United supporters invaded the pitch at Old Trafford before a home outing against Liverpool to protest against the club’s involvement, forcing the fixture to be postponed. Another protest was carried out at the end of April as fans continue to call for change upstairs.

Rating: 2/10

Fans have been protesting against the United owners for a number of years at Old Trafford

Fans have been protesting against the United owners for a number of years at Old Trafford

West Ham (minority investment)

Investor: Albert Tripp Smith

Style: A hugely successful businessman with little experience in the world of sport.

Smith was the co-founder of GSO Capital Partners, a company he eventually sold to the Blackstone Group for £1bn in 2008 – which he remains a managing director of.

After watching West Ham on a number of occasions, he purchased an eight per cent stake in the club in 2017 as an individual and not on behalf of Blackstone.   

Influence: David Sullivan (38.8 per cent), Daniel Kretinsky (27 per cent) and David Gold (25 per cent) enjoy greater shares at the London Stadium than Smith, meaning his influence in the boardroom is somewhat lower than his co-owners.



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