United States firms investing in the British sports market and its associated industries are set reap a huge return on their investment this April as the United Kingdom hosts several of its most prominent, major live sporting events all on one single day.
The trend of US-based enterprises putting their money into UK sports has increased dramatically over the last several years, with take overs of Premier League soccer clubs Manchester United and Liverpool F.C by The Glazer family and John W. Henry respectively causing headlines, controversy and acclaim in equal measure back on British shores.
They’re hardly the only ones either. Notable entrepreneur Stan Kroenke, whose American franchises include the NBA’s Denver Nuggets, the Los Angeles Rams from the NFL, and the NHL side Colorado Avalanche, also owns almost 70% of London side Arsenal, Americans JOy Seppala and John Berylson own parts of lower-league sides Coventry City and Millwall, and Championship side Fulham boast American Shahid Khan as sole owner.
Nor is soccer -by far and away the United Kingdom’s most popular and profitable sport- the only area in which international investors own a large stake.
Aintree Racecourse in Liverpool, home of the world renowned steeplechase The Grand National, has enjoyed cash injections from across the continents, particularly in the form of American co-owners of the annual race’s star horses.
Rugby union, test cricket, and formula one all owe at least part of their financial success to investors from the United States. Not that this could ever be a one-sided affair.
The British sports market is estimated to be worth some £20 billion ($24+ billion USD), with a decent chunk of that coming back stateside.
That will be especially true on Saturday, April 8th, when Britain hosts several major sporting events all on one single day.
The Grand National – Bringing the Country Together
Taking pride of place on this national sports day is the aforementioned Grand National, a 4 mile, 514 yards (6.907 km) steeplechase which attracts televised audiences of millions and over £250 million in gambling revenues each April.
With Grand National betting odds explained by both traditional bookmakers and mainstream news outlets alike in the run up to the big event, the race serves for scores of Brits as the one time of year that they ever bet on a sporting event. For the most part, this makes the race a truly national event, bringing the whole country together in the same way that the Super Bowl does back here in the States.
With over a million British Pound Sterling up for grabs in the Grand National, American horse owners and other international investors with a vested interest in the UK’s biggest horse racing event will no doubt be joining the rest of the country in eagerly anticipating the winner.
Premier League Football
Away from this unique, one-off event, a total of six hugely important football matches will take place in the Premier League, British soccer’s answer to American football’s NFL.
Swansea City, which is majority owned by American business men Stephen Kaplan and Jason Levien take on London side Watford in an effort to keep themselves clear of relegation back into the football championship, a move which would see a dramatic decrease in the club’s profits.
Elsewhere, John W. Henry’s Liverpool will look to beat off Southampton (owned by Katharina Liebherr of Switzerland) when they meet at Anfield Stadium. For Liverpool, the game is a chance to secure their place in the European Championships the following season, a league which will prove more than profitable, drawing in literally millions of pounds with every Euro game played.
More Sport Throughout the United Kingdom
Also on that day, the country’s most famous stadium, Wembley, will play host to rugby union as Saracens take on Harlequins, and a host of lower league games across multiple sports will see British fans pack arenas the country.
With so much going on, you have to believe that Americans with financial interest in the British sports industry will be watching close this April, ready to see just how much profit they’re going to make on their initial investment.