New Chelsea owner Todd Boehly watches the team's match against Wolverhampton at Stamford Bridge. DPA via Europa Press (Europa Press)
Investor Todd Boehly explained a few years ago, in the simplest way, how he has created an empire through his investment fund, Eldrige Industries.
“Most things are boxes where you put things.
It's not the box itself that's good or bad, but what's inside it,” he told
The Wall Street Journal
in 2019 .
The American businessman has just got a new box, Chelsea, the pride of Stamford Bridge and emblem of the Premier.
Boehly has acquired it, along with a consortium, for 5.2 billion dollars from Roman Abramovich, the Russian oligarch who was forced to get rid of the club due to the sanctions imposed on Vladimir Putin's close circle due to the war in Ukraine.
Continuing with the example of the boxes, Boehly, 46, has created with Eldrige a container that contains a huge and diverse investment portfolio.
"Our vision is very simple: we invest in what people need and what people want," explains the businessman in a video presentation.
The firm owns 80 companies: insurance, financial services, hotels like The Beverly Hilton and the Waldorf Astoria in Beverly Hills;
real estate, the cultural festival SXSW (South by Southwest), the independent film production company A24, the specialized magazines
The Hollywood Reporter, Rolling Stone and Billboard.
the background too
bought at the end of last year for 500 million dollars, together with Sony, the musical catalog of Bruce Springsteen and The Killers.
In his most recent purchase, he has set himself the goal of taking over the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the troubled organization that celebrates the Golden Globes.
Chelsea, a club with a 117-year history, now joins another cerulean gem owned by Eldrige, the Los Angeles Dodgers.
The baseball team, one of the most important in the United States, was bought in 2012 for 2,000 million dollars.
Since then, the team has flourished in the hands of the businessman, who personally owns 20% (the fund is owned by another 7%).
The Dodgers have reached three league finals in the past five seasons.
They won their seventh championship in 2020, the first since 1981. In 2022, the group manages the largest payroll in the MLB, 263 million dollars.
The deal will close later this month once the consortium led by Boehly and backed by Swiss tycoon Hansjorg Wyss, Dogers co-owner Mark Walter and developer Jonathan Goldstein (Tottenham fan) receives the go-ahead from British regulators.
This will make the purchase of the
the largest transaction by a professional team, surpassing billionaire investor Steven Cohen's acquisition of the New York Mets in 2020, according to analyst firm Dealogic.
Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly watches a game at Los Angeles Stadium on April 30.
Mark J. Terrill (AP)
Boehly's landing at Stamford Bridge reinforces the presence of the Americans in the Premier League.
Eight teams are already controlled by American companies, including the Glazer family's Manchester United, Stan Kroenke's Arsenal and Fenway Sports Group's Liverpool (owners of the Boston Red Sox).
Eldridge's businessman is no stranger to London.
The investor studied at the London School of Economics and worked briefly at Citibank before starting his career as a banker at Credit Suisse in the mid-1990s.
Those who know him affirm that Boehly imprints on his teams a careful analysis based on data and statistics, a strategy popularized in the professional baseball league and made into a film in the movie
, starring Brad Pitt.
It is a commitment to coldly selected profiles that replace the big signings.
“Soccer is the biggest sport in the world,” the businessman told Bloomberg in 2019. “It is the best product in the world.
It's 90 minutes, a great running time.
And the passion of the fans is simply unmatched in any other sport,” he added.
In that year, Boehly made Abramovich an offer for Chelsea for 2.2 billion pounds.
His argument was that he wanted to win and be part of the community.
The Russian, who led the London club to every trophy in 19 years, then turned down the offer.
Putin's offensive on Ukraine prevented the refusal from being repeated again.
Part of the operation contemplates that the American carries out the reform of Stamford Bridge, a stadium that would house 42,000 fans to 62,500, according to the plans drawn up by the oligarch.
Boehly and his partner, Mark Walter, have strengthened their position in sports in recent years.
In June of last year they bought 27% of the Lakers, a percentage put up for sale by the controversial conservative businessman Phil Anschutz.
The Buss family, however, still controls the majority of the team led by Lebron James and Anthony Davis.
He also owns the city's women's basketball team, the Sparks, who have won a title in 2016 since being purchased by Eldridge two years earlier.
"It's intellectually stimulating because in sports there is no guarantee of anything," the tycoon told Yahoo Finance about his sports investments.
Some analysts say that one of the consortium's priorities will be to improve the broadcasting rights of the team led by German Thomas Tuchel.
The investor has a great deal of experience getting big hits on television.
Months after coming to the helm of the Dodgers, Time Warner signed an agreement for 7,000 million dollars until 2038. The NBC network paid in 2021 about 2,700 million dollars to broadcast the English league on American televisions for the next years.
The appetite for football, called
on this side of the world, has grown significantly.
The broadcaster said last month that the audience, of half a million viewers per game, has grown 27% compared to a year earlier.
Chelsea's 2-2 draw against Liverpool earlier this year was watched by more than a million people, making it the third most watched in the country on cable television.
It is a market that can only grow.
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