Since October 2013 it has been reported that Red Bull wants to further its sports investment with a stake in an English Premier League (EPL) club.
With diversified investments in sports, alternative sports and music Red Bull has already invested heavily in football (soccer) including Major League Soccer (MLS) franchise New York Red Bulls, Austrian Bundesliga club FC Red Bull Salzburg, third-division German side RB Leipzig, Brazilian second-tier club Red Bull Brasil and top-flight Ghanaian side Red Bull Ghana.
Red Bull want to buy a stake in an English football club which they can take to club footballs most coveted prize – UEFA Champions league. But just which club can Red Bull buy a stake in order to achieve success. There are talks about their interest being mainly in investing in clubs from London, Liverpool and other areas.
London is a hot bed for football in UK and with 30+ registered football clubs how ever there are probably 5-6 clubs that play top flight football which may be of interet to Red Bull. To further break the clubs down the top flight clubs are:
Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Crystal Palace, Fulham FC, Tottenham Hotspurs and West Ham United FC play EPL and a few other clubs that can be of interest from Investment could be Charlton Athletic FC, Brentford FC, Queens Park Rangers, Leyton Orient FC, Watford FC and Milwall FC.
Clubs like Arsenal FC, Chelsea FC, Fulham FC, Tottenham Hotspurs, Queens Park Rangers, Leyton Orient FC have very strong owners who possibly will not want to dilute their strong hold. Where as Charlton Athletic has just been purchased a Belgian business man that’s one more off the Red Bull list.
That leaves us with Crystal Palace and West Ham United. Crystal Palace has undergone tough times and managed to bounce back where as West Ham has been bought over by Gold and partner from the previous Icelandic owners. These two clubs may be clubs worth pursuing along with Watford.
In terms of investing in a club below EPL Watford, Brentford and Milwall could be suitable clubs for Red Bull to consider however Queens Park Rangers and Leyton Orient owners have shown commitment in running their respective clubs. However Milwall has a bad reputation for fan behaviour making it a risky proposition.
My verdict – Red Bull missed out on a brilliant opportunity in Charlton Athletic FC. It’s a club with history and strong credentials having played in EPL in the past with splendid assets in terms of stadium and training facilities.
I predict if it’s London clubs Red bull is after then West Ham, Crystal Palace and possibly Queens Park Rangers would be good teams to pursue.
Other football clubs from Manchester and Liverpool are again under committed ownership however recent news of Manchester United’s debts and the willingness of their owners to go all out in tying up partners for every category globally I am certain they may welcome Red Bull with open arms.
From Liverpool area Everton FC is a good bet for Red Bull. Everton has been in the news every year with link up’s to investors including the Ambani’s from India. Also, it’s a club that has potential to make it to UEF A Champions League.
If I may add one outsider club with a slim chance of being on Red Bull radar could be Newcastle United – Another club with controversial ownership who are willing to go against tradition, ethics you name it when it comes to make money (Wonga sponsorship and desperate attempt to sell stadium naming rights) controversial may be but all the more the eccentric ownership suits Red Bull as they can potentially get a big name club with a good fan base, immense team and a gorgeous stadium which they can happily name Red Bull Arena/Park and a great team of players mainly french!
It will be interesting to monitor developments of Red Bull and their interest in buying stake in an EPL club.
Article written by Nilesh Deshmukh. Read his blog on sports business www.sportsnexus.in