Retired NFL star JJ Watt and his wife, NWSL star Kealia Watt, have acquired a minority ownership stake in English soccer club Burnley FC.
Terms of the Watts’ investment were not disclosed. American investment firm Alk Capital reportedly paid about £200 million ($250M) for majority control of Burnley FC in 2020.
Burnley FC was relegated to the second-division EFL Championship in 2022 but secured promotion in April to play in the Premier League’s upcoming season. Kealia Watt, a former UWSNT player, and current NWSL free agent, will be involved in growing Burnley FC’s women’s team.
The Watts recently paid $7 million for a mansion in Phoenix, AZ, following JJ’s retirement from the NFL. The three-time NFL Defensive Player of the Year and future Hall of Famer told Front Office Sports in December that he was interested in buying a percentage of ownership in a soccer club.
“I do think that a percentage of a soccer team would definitely interest me,” JJ Watt told FOS in December 2022. “My wife plays soccer, I’ve been very interested in soccer. I’ve really leaned heavily in European soccer over the last five to 10 years. That is something with the passion, fanbase, history, and tradition that definitely does interest me.”
Former NFL safety Malcolm Jenkins became a minority invested in Burnley FC in 2021. Other star athletes with ownership stakes in soccer clubs include LeBron James (EPL’s Liverpool FC), Giannis Antetokounmpo (MLS’ Nashville Predators), Patrick Mahomes (Sporting Kansas City), James Harden (Houston Dynamo), Kevin Durant (Philadelphia Union and Gotham FC), and Matthew Stafford (Angel City FC).