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American investors go in on European soccer league ownership


When “Welcome to Wrexham” premiered in 2022, the premise was a novel one: two North American actors — Rob McElhenney of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” and Hollywood’s A-lister Ryan Reynolds — with only a superficial understanding of soccer take over… Film ownership. Wrexham, the historic football club in Wales, hopes to knock the team out of the bottom tier of the English Football League. Now in its third season, the docu-series has been a real hit as audiences follow the stars’ crash course in European football and root for a team many had never heard of before the show aired.

But despite the charm of the TV show, the basic story it tells isn’t entirely limited to the sleepy Welsh town after which it is named. While McIlhenny and Reynolds may have the Hollywood spotlight shining on their foray into foreign football, European football leagues – particularly in the UK – have become a hotbed for American investment. This trend is affecting not only corporate boardrooms across Europe, but also on playing fields. There, the continent’s long and storied soccer culture comes face to face with an infusion of uniquely American energy.

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