Seven-times Super Bowl winner Tom Brady has become a minority owner of English soccer Championship side Birmingham City. The team from England’s second city plays in the second-level Champions League and has seen little success in recent years.
The NFL legend, who retired from the sport in February, has “entered a partnership” with Blues’ new owners Knighthead Capital Management LLC.
“Tom Brady joining the Birmingham City team is a statement of intent. We are setting the bar at world class,” Knighthead co-founder Tom Wagner said.
“Tom is both investing [as well as] committing his time and extensive expertise.
“As chair of the advisory board Tom will have a direct impact on the club. The men’s, women’s, and academy teams are going to benefit from [his] knowledge.
“The goal that Tom has committed to is to make Birmingham City a respected leader in nutrition, health, wellness, and recovery across the world of football.”
The club said Brady would also work closely with the board and the management team on global marketing efforts and the identification of new commercial partnership opportunities.
A number of American stars have made minority investments in English football clubs in recent months.
Former NFL defensive end JJ Watt became a shareholder at Burnley in May, while actor and producer Michael B Jordan invested in Bournemouth at the end of last year.
Fellow NBA star LeBron James also become a minor partner in Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the owners of Liverpool, in 2021.
US-based Shelby Companies Limited (SCL), a subsidiary of Knighthead Capital Management, completed its takeover of Birmingham in July.
As part of that deal SCL became controlling shareholders of the previously Chinese-owned club.
“Birmingham City is an iconic club with so much history and passion, and to be part of the Blues is a real honour for me,” Brady said.
“BCFC is built on teamwork and determination and I’m excited to work alongside the board, management and players to make our Second City club second to none.
“I’ve been part of some amazing teams in my day, and I’m looking forward to applying my perspective to create that same success here in Birmingham.”
Widely recognised as one of the greatest American footballers in NFL history, the quarterback won six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots and one with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2021.
Brady’s final season before his retirement earlier this year ended in the Bucs’ 31-14 play-off defeat in January.
Blues, who finished 17th in the Championship last season, begin the new campaign with a trip to Swansea on Saturday.
Christina Philippou, sports finance expert at Portsmouth University, told BBC Radio 5 Live that it was difficult to tell at the moment how much involvement Brady would have with the club.
“What’s obvious is he’s put some money in as a minority owner,” she said.
“More money coming in is good for Birmingham City. Their general financial situation is not great as is the case with most of the Championship.
“Tom Brady’s new role is on a new advisory board and that’s not the same as being on the board of directors.
“Advisory boards are generally advisory, so they can give advise which the board can or choose not to take on board. It really will depend on how this is set up and what the new advisory board looks like and that will become more obvious as time passes.”
Philippou added there was little comparison between Brady’s role and that of Hollywood superstars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney at League Two Wrexham.
“There is a big difference between the ownership, which is effectively what we’re seeing at Wrexham where they are involved in a lot of the day-to-day running of the club and what we’re seeing here where basically a minority ownership means you don’t have much power,” she said.
“He’s not even on the board of directors. It does feel almost more of a sponsorship-type deal rather than an ownership. Time will tell.”
Source: BBC News.