First appeared in BOXSCORE
By Aron Solomon
In case you missed this morning’s blockbuster sports news, Tom Brady, a seven-time Super Bowl champion and former NFL quarterback, has acquired a minority ownership stake in Birmingham City, an English soccer club that plays in the second-tier league known as The Championship.
The stake was purchased through a partnership with Knighthead Capital Management LLC, which, just last month, acquired a 45% stake in the club. As a result of the acquisition, Brady will become the chairman of the club’s advisory
As The Guardian reported on Thursday:
Brady has partnered with Knighthead Capital on several other ventures and the club’s chairman, Tom Wagner, described the move as a “a statement of intent”. He said: “We are setting the bar at world class. Tom is both investing and 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 the knowledge. The goal that Tom has committed to own is to make Birmingham a respected leader in nutrition, health, wellness and recovery across the world of football.”
This is simply a win for everyone concerned. Tom Brady brings a lot to the table for a second-division English team looking to play in the first-division Premiership. While Brady’s presence can and will do many things, here are the most significant benefits of his involvement with the team and brand:
Brady is a well-known athlete, and his investment in Birmingham City football club will increase the team’s visibility and attract more fans to the team. The celebrity effect worked wonders with Ryan Reynolds and Wrexham – Brady’s presence even as a minority owner at Birmingham can have a similar impact.
Brady’s investment could bring new opportunities for the team, such as access to new resources and connections in the sports industry. Brady is extremely well-connected in the sports industry in the U.S., so if Birmingham is eventually promoted to the Premiership and needs new capital, for example, Brady is an excellent person to have on the ownership team.
Tom Brady’s investment could have a positive impact on the team’s performance and morale. His winning mentality and experience in the NFL could and should inspire the team to strive for success. That is part of the reason behind his appointment to a “wellness” role. Part of wellness is mental outlook and emotional preparation for the realities of professional sport. In this area, there is a very strong argument that Brady might be the greatest of all time in any sport.
Again, the Ryan Reynolds Wrexham effect. As Philadelphia lawyer and lifelong Tottenham Spurs fan, Rich DiTomaso points out, “Tom Brady’s investment in an English football club could attract more international attention to the sport and increase its popularity worldwide. Because Brady is so well known, as he pitches English football, more people will be curious about what happens on the literal pitch.”
DiTomaso agrees that “This seems to be part of a new trend as celebrity actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob Mcelhenney purchased the national league club Wrexham, and turned it into a successful money-making series called ‘Welcome to Wrexham.’ Who knows what international media properties could end up spinning off from Tom Brady’s ownership of Birmingham City?”
But why is Tom Brady the right person for this role, some will ask.
Anyone questioning Brady’s street cred in the health and wellness space needs a reality check. Aside from the fact that he is very well-known for his strict diet and fitness regimen, and has spoken publicly about the importance of taking care of one’s body, he is also an experienced entrepreneur in the wellness vertical.
TB12 is a health and wellness company co-founded by Tom Brady that offers a holistic approach to fitness and wellness. TB12 has locations in several cities, including Philadelphia and West Palm Beach.
The non-profit arm of TB12, established in 2015, aims to provide health and wellness resources to communities that might otherwise lack access. The foundation focuses on educating and inspiring athletes to excel in both sports and life, and has programs for student-athletes, at-risk youth, military service members, and people who are vulnerable to socioeconomic or poor health issues.
It’s going to be very interesting to see the extent to which Brady, especially with the brand new Birmingham City ownership group, becomes an active and engaged stakeholder. My prediction is that he will from day one. Whether you’re a massive Tom Brady fan or not, he’s not someone who stands on the sidelines, so it would be a surprise if he took on this new role just to be a face of the team and brand.
About Aron Solomon
A Pulitzer Prize-nominated writer, Aron Solomon, JD, is the Chief Legal Analyst for Esquire Digital and the Editor-in-Chief for Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania, and was elected to Fastcase 50, recognizing the top 50 legal innovators in the world. Aron has been featured in Forbes, CBS News, CNBC, USA Today, ESPN, TechCrunch, The Hill, BuzzFeed, Fortune, Venture Beat, The Independent, Fortune China, Yahoo!, ABA Journal, Law.com, The Boston Globe, YouTube, NewsBreak, and many other leading publications.