In a season marked by disappointment, Leeds United, a prominent team in the English Premier League, finds itself among the three clubs relegated to the English Championship League at the close of the 2022-23 campaign.
Adding to the upheaval, professional golfer Rickie Fowler has decided to withdraw his minority investment in the club. The news was revealed by fellow golfer Jordan Spieth in an interview with Sky Sports ahead of the Genesis Scottish Open on Wednesday.
Meanwhile, Spieth and Justin Thomas remain committed as minority owners of Leeds United, undeterred by the club’s relegation. Reflecting on the situation, Spieth expressed, “Relegation wasn’t ideal. However, we became involved with the 49ers group with the intention of acquiring a larger share and joining forces with them. They have achieved remarkable success wherever they have ventured.”
The San Francisco 49ers, owned by the York Family, initially made a minority investment in Leeds United in 2018. According to reports, the 49ers ownership group recently purchased the majority stake in the club for a substantial £170 million ($213 million). It is worth noting that had Leeds United managed to maintain their top-flight status in English soccer, the valuation would likely have exceeded $500 million.
Yet, the York Family and the esteemed PGA Tour players are not the only notable Americans investing in European soccer clubs. Stan Kroenke, owner of the Los Angeles Rams, Denver Nuggets, and Colorado Avalanche, holds ownership and co-chairmanship of Arsenal F.C., one of the most renowned teams globally. Similarly, the Glazer family, proprietors of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, also own and operate Manchester United, a globally recognized football club.
In a unique twist, actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney ventured into the soccer realm by acquiring Wrexham A.F.C., the oldest club in Wales, in 2020. The duo’s involvement led to the creation of a television series centered around the small Welsh club.
Now, moving forward, the York Family, alongside Spieth and Thomas, will assume ownership of Leeds United. Only time will tell if Fowler will rue his decision to withdraw as an investor should the club make a triumphant return to the Premier League in 2024.
As the worlds of sports and investment intersect, the allure of European soccer teams continues to captivate notable figures from the United States. These ventures highlight the global appeal and potential financial rewards associated with the sport, intertwining the realms of entertainment, competition, and business.