Wednesday, January 19

Longoria, Portman, Ferrell … Hollywood enters the football business

Eva Longoria, Will Ferrell, Natalie Portman, Matthew McConaughey and Ryan Reynolds. Together they could form a brilliant cast for a film, but these Hollywood stars have something in common beyond the cinema: their passion for it. football and his business acumen.

In recent years, figures of the highest cachet on the big screen have become owners of soccer teams and have taken the great spotlights of the cinema to the stadiums.

Eva Longoria is part of a large group of investors, led by Natalie Portman, who are behind this women’s team that will debut in Los Angeles in 2022, Angel City FC.

Along with Longoria and Portman, the actresses America Ferrera, Becky G, Jennifer Garner, Jessica Chastain, Sophia Bush and Uzo Aduba also appear as promoters of Angel City FC.

Longoria, who recently announced that he has become a shareholder in Mexican Necaxa, underlined the importance of Angel City FC having a majority of women at the helm for decision-making.

“It’s like getting behind the camera to be a director. To get good opportunities and change things (for women), we need to sit in the boardrooms of the companies,” she defended.

A growing sport

Actors have long ceased to be just artists to become major investors with multiple business interests. But it is striking that many Hollywood figures have opted precisely for soccer, a sport that, although it has grown a lot in the United States, continues to have less popularity and economic power compared to the impact of the major basketball leagues (NBA). American football (NFL) or baseball (MLB).

“Soccer is the sport of the whole world. At the same time, it is undeniable that it is going to penetrate the United States. It is a pragmatic investment.” Eric Johnson, director of the faculty of the Anderson Center for Media, Entertainment and Sports at UCLA, explained to EFE that, beyond the love for football that these stars may have, there are compelling reasons to justify these investments from the beginning economic point of view.

This expert explained that the valuation of the teams in the MLS American football league is “relatively low”, at least in comparison with the NBA or NFL franchises.

Thus, Hollywood stars can enter the ownership of these football clubs without undue financial difficulties, and that exposure from the investment can serve them to “improve their international brand” as a figure in the cinema.

“On a general level, we all have a merchant or a businessman inside us, beyond being famous,” Johnson recalled.

“You can do your daily work and you can use that money later to invest,” he said, noting that, in the case of actors, taking the red carpet to the football fields can have benefits for them in the form of money, fame, popularity or personal brand.

Lebron’s example

Johnson opined that at the crossroads of Hollywood and soccer there are two different routes of arrival. On the one hand, there are the great stars who have entered established teams and of the highest competitive level, such as Matthew McConaughey with Austin FC.

Another example would be Liverpool and LeBron James if we accept that the Los Angeles Lakers figure has one foot on the court and the other in the “show business” (this summer the sequel to “Space Jam” is released).

Quoting James, Johnson noted that when Liverpool wanted to have “a bigger presence in the US” saw the entrance to the Lakers’ lighthouse property as “a marketing tool to win over fans.”

Against these examples that exploit the advertising side of celebrities are those in which an actor has become the owner of a modest team that plays in a lower division.

There we find Ryan Reynolds, who this year bought the Welsh Wrexham AFC of the English fifth division.

In wales

One might wonder what the protagonist of “Deadpool” (2016) has missed in a small team in Wales, but Johnson tried to see the economic reason for this operation.

“You can turn (after upgrading) a very small investment into something worthwhile. And you are also promoting yourself outside the US … by owning something that has value and recognition in countries like the United Kingdom. Kingdom, Spain or Italy “, he stated.

One of the referents of this Hollywood landing in soccer offices is Will Ferrell with Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC).

Since debuting in MLS in 2018, LAFC has caused a sensation in Los Angeles with Mexican Carlos Vela as a benchmark on the field, with a large stadium in the center of the Californian city, and with an astonishing launch campaign that in record time he knew how to create a very recognizable club identity and bring together a totally devoted fans with his team.

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To top off the masterpiece, LAFC has Ferrell as one of its owners. “LAFC has done the best marketing campaign for a new team in the US in any sport. I bow to what they did to build that platform,” Johnson said.

The researcher recalled Ferrell’s personal connection with the lands where the LAFC field is located (at the USC university where the actor studied) and emphasized that a figure like him can act as a “marketing engine” to convert football already that team into something “cool”.

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