Spending in world football has reached all-time high levels. Billionaire club owners breathe lifeblood into clubs in the form of investments, which can take the shape of facility upgrades, expensive player transfers, and high profile coaching hires. These changes can have a massively positive impact on the club in question and the community that surrounds it. Over the past few seasons, clubs on this list have won the Champions League and league titles from around the world. This trend has made ownership of a football club one of the trendiest investments for billionaires looking to raise their public profile.
Investment in major football clubs has long been increasing in expense, but following Roman Abramovich’s purchase and subsequent success with Chelsea, more billionaires have decided to try their hand at club ownership. These changes can be met with resistance by some subsets of fans, but typically the fan reaction to having money to invest is positive, as long as the results on the pitch live up to expectations. This trend has seen clubs perennially on the brink of relegation transformed into title contenders, however not all of these investments have gone so smoothly.
Many trends in world football come and go, however the influence of billionaire owners is one that will surely remain in the game for the foreseeable future. Club owners have a platform that allows them to reach legions of loyal fans located around the globe. These fans make sustained investment in a club a worthwhile one. New Financial Fair Play regulations in UEFA make a returned investment from fans just as important as the initial investment from club owners. When fans and ownership match their passion, ambition, and invest wisely the clubs that they love can reach amazing heights.
All net worth figures were taken from Forbes.com
20 Joseph Lewis - $4.8 billion - Tottenham Hotspur
19 Denis O’Brien - $5.5 billon – Partial owner: Celtic, Director: Doncaster Rovers
18 Stan Kroenke - $6 billion - Arsenal
17 T16. Leonid Fedun - $6.5 billion - Spartak Moscow
16 T16. Suleyman Kerimov - $6.5 billion - Anzhi Makhachkala
15 Silvio Berlusconi - $7.9 billion – AC Milan
14 Dietrich Mateschitz - $8.5 billion - FC Salzburg, New York Red Bulls
13 Dmitry Rybolovlev - $8.8 billion – Monaco
12 Roman Abramovich - $9.6 billion – Chelsea
11 Philip Anschutz - $11.2 billion – Los Angeles Galaxy
10 Rinat Akhmetov - $12.8 billion – Shakhtar Donetsk
9 John Fredriksen - $14.5 billion – Valerenga
8 Francois Henri Pinault - $15.5 billion – Stade Rennes
7 Lakshmi Mittal - $16.1 billion – Queens Park Rangers
6 Paul Allen - $16.3 billion – Seattle Sounders
5 Alisher Usmanov - $19.4 billion – Arsenal
4 George Soros - $24 billion – Manchester United, formerly DC United
3 Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan - $34 billon - Manchester City, Melbourne City, New York City FC
2 Amancio Ortega - $62.9 billion – Deportivo de La Coruna
1 Carlos Slim Helu- $86.3 billion – Club Pachua, Club Leon, Real Oviedo
As the world’s richest man, Carlos Slim Helu has built a fortune through investment in his conglomerate, Grupo Carso. He is also the President and Chief Executive of Mexican telecom companies America Movil and Telmex. America Movil purchased a stake in two Mexican clubs, Club Leon and Club Pachua. He followed that up by purchasing Spanish club, Real Ovideo, in 2012. As the majority shareholder of the club, Helu looks to return the club to La Liga after over a decade of absence from the competition.
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