The Billionaire Soccer Club

Discussion in 'Chit Chat' started by Optionpro007, May 8, 2009.

  1. The World's Richest People
    The Billionaire Soccer Club
    Andrew Farrell, 11.12.08, 10:00 PM EST
    Playing soccer is the world's passion. Owning a soccer team is a more rarified pursuit.

    The Soccer Billionaires

    When reclusive billionaire Mike Ashley bought struggling British soccer club Newcastle United in the summer of 2007, the team's fans hailed their new owner and his deep pockets as potential saviors.

    Not anymore. Through Nov. 11, Newcastle is in 18th place in the standings, a spot which puts them in danger of relegation to a lower league. Club fans, called the Toon Army, are also furious with ownership because of the resignation of beloved manager Kevin Keegan.

    Ashley, who had become a fixture in Newcastle's stands, is ready to return to the lifestyle that earned him the nickname of Britain's Howard Hughes. He says he can't take his kids to a game any longer out of fear they will be assaulted. After purchasing the club just over a year ago, he's looking to sell. "You want me out," says Ashley. "That is what I am now trying to do."

    British papers have been thick with chatter of who could bid on the 116-year-old club. In those tabloids at least, Philip Anschutz emerged as a frontrunner this weekend. He's a Denver entertainment entrepreneur who ranked 36th on our Forbes 400 list of the richest Americans, and he already owns three other soccer teams.

    Anschutz's sports holding company AEG (other-otc: AEGXY.PK - news - people ) denies any interest in the club, but don't be surprised if another billionaire might become the next Newcastle owner. The owner's box at soccer stadiums has transformed into a billionaire's club over the past decade.

    Many of the men at the top of our rich lists have a pro soccer team on their long list of assets. Indian magnate Lakshmi Mittal and racing tycoon Bernie Ecclestone have a stake in the London's Queen's Park Rangers.

    Microsoft (nasdaq: MSFT - news - people ) co-founder Paul Allen is part owner of the new American Major League Soccer franchise Seattle Sounders. Luxury goods maven Francois Pinault doesn't just root for his favorite French side Stade Rennais; he also owns them.

    The reason that so many clubs are in billionaire hands is their considerable expense. "I paid 134 million pounds [$206.8 million] out of my own pocket for the club," says Ashley on his Newcastle purchase. "I then poured another 110 million pounds [$169.8 million] into the club not to pay off the debt but just to reduce it. The club is still in debt." Plus, he says he'll be paying out many more millions in the coming years to settle fees from old transfers.

    If you need more evidence of the expenses of running a football club, take Russian businessman Roman Abramovich and his club Chelsea. Since Abramovich's purchase in 2003, Chelsea has been stellar on the field and captured two Premier League championships. Despite that, a Chelsea executive said this week that the club isn't hoping to be profitable until the 2010-2011 season.

    Anschutz might know the difficulties of the soccer business better than anybody. Anschutz is widely credited with the success of America's pro soccer league--no small deed in a country with relatively few soccer fans. Major League Soccer recently named its championship trophy after him in recognition of the service.

    "In our darkest hour, we went through contraction," said MLS Commissioner Don Garber at the trophy unveiling. "We were really questioning what the future of MLS would be. Phil Anschutz stood up and said, 'Even if I have to carry this league on my shoulders, I won't allow Major League Soccer not to continue or grow.'"

    At one point, Anschutz owned six teams in the fledgling league. It was a huge gamble that only a billionaire could afford. Now, with the MLS healthier than ever, it's starting to pay off. We value Anschutz's Los Angeles Galaxy as the most valuable team in American soccer, worth some $100 million.
  2. I have been meaning to start a thread to discuss European Soccer and was wondering if anybody here follows it.

    I'll use this news piece as research..

    I'll like to add that I think Barcelona will beat Manchester United in the final.
  3. Pekelo


    looks like buying a soccer team is generally a bad business decission. Ashley is looking at a 100+ million dollars loss...
  4. oriol88


    I agree. Being there fans willing to pay for no profit, what we could expect is that shares are traded at a premium.

    BTW, I'm from Barcelona and this season I have reasons to be specially happy:D
  5. andread


    undeservedly, to be fair.
    Hope Barca wins, but that referee should be banned. There were at least 3 penalties last week
  6. Few Barsa’s key players are out…I have a feeling that MU will repeat…unless Barsa still has a leftovers from unbelievable luck from Chelsea game
  7. andread


    yeah, Alves and Abidal. But United won't have Fletcher. The real problem is that United is just a fantastic team. They can definitely win.
    Man, I was with about 40 people of different nationalities when Iniesta scored, and everybody cheered. People are definitely supporting Barca, they simply played at stellar levels. It would be a disappointment if United won.
  8. andread


    By the way: that article is missing a few important people, like sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who bought Manchester City a while ago, and tried last year to get Kaka with an offer of around 100 mil euros, which would have been the highest price ever paid
  9. Guys tomorrow is the big final. The best teams in the world right now imo. I think this could become an epic event.

    The only way Barca can win is if Pep plays free style. Playing torque against torque like with Chelsea will not work.

    Time to see who is really the best player, Ronaldo or Messi.

  10. I think Liverpool is the best team this year…Van der Sar stall the title with countless 1:0 wins. Its all may came down to him vs Valdes. Barsa will badly miss Alves. As for MU superstars, I think the goal(s) will come from a second echelon: Tevez , Giggs or Park
    Anyhow, should be a good one
    #10     May 26, 2009