By the start of the 2013/14 Premier League season up to a quarter of English Premier League Clubs will be owned by Americans.
Gone are the days when a handful of players made their way across the pond to play for some of England’s top teams. Now the Billionaires of America are hoping on their private jets, crossing the Atlantic, looking for the glamor, sexiness and excitement of owning a Premier League Football Club – they want to be part of the action, and their interest is not purely financial reasons.
For most it positions them on a global platform. Several owners already own successful American sports teams, Man Utd Owner Malcolm Glazier owned the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Liverpool owner John Henry owns the Boston Red Sox, and the new owner of Fulham, Shad Khan owns NFL side Jacksonville Jaguars. It’s a marketers dream, to link one top team in the world to another, the options are endless.
Many are said to be caught up by the excitement of soccer – one owner takes a potential owner to a game and they are hooked, they say “I gotta have one of these too”.
Those who been seduced by the excitement of the Premier League are –
Arsenal owner – Stan Kroenke (66.83%)
Aston Villa – Randy Learner
Liverpool – John Henry
Manchester United – Malcolm Glazer
Sunderland – Ellis Short
Fulham – Shad Khan
And its not just the money men who are taking more of an interest, more and more players are coming over to ply their trade in England’s top teams – keepers Brad Friedle, Brad Guzan and Tim Howard are some of the best keepers in the league. While Tottenham striker Clint Dempsey has been an integral player at a number of clubs since joining Fulham in 2006. Other players who have made a mark have been Brian McBride, Landon Donovan, Joze Altidore, Claudio Reyna and John Harkes. In total 37 American have played in the EPL, the majority, however, having limited success.
Aside from the owners and players, kit manufactures are also getting in on the act. Warrior Sports (a manufacturer of lacrosse and ice hockey apparel based in Michigan) entered the soccer market in 2012, producing kits for teams around the word – this included Premier League powerhouse Liverpool. While their first attempt at a Liverpool shirt was a success, their range of shirts for the 2013/14 season have been met with a mixture of derision and horror from supports. The design of the third strip defies belief and it is safe to say Warrior have done themselves no favors with two of the worst shirts ever seen.
The growing interest America is taking in the Premier League is an intriguing one, for now it seems pretty harmless. However, only time will tell if the huge financial influence turns into a battle for control and Premier League football turns into soccer and becomes just another American sport.
(Image Source: Guardian.co.uk)