The pandemic has kept fans out of Premier League soccer games all year, but the fan base’s fury toward the team’s owners hit a breaking point on Sunday.
With frustration over the attempt of 12 high-revenue soccer teams, including six in England, to form a Super League tournament fresh on everyone’s minds, fans poured into Manchester United’s Old Trafford stadium, setting off flares, and calling for the team to be sold.
Protestors are demanding for the Glazer family to sell Manchester United. The Glazers own the NFL’s Tampa Bay Buccaneers as well as malls and other commercial properties across the U.S. through its First Allied Corporation.
The protest canceled a match against Liverpool, who also faced recent protests, as have Arsenal, Chelsea, and Tottenham.
Liverpool is now partially owned by LeBron James and Maverick Carter, who bought into the Fenway Sports Group in March. Spotify founder and CEO Daniel Ek is putting together a bid for Arsenal.
Anger has been simmering against the Glazers since they bought the team for $1.1 billion in 2005, especially since 2013, the last time the team won the Premier League.
The Glazers borrowed heavily to purchase the team, and then transferred that debt to the club’s books. The team still carries $629 million in debt from the 16 year-old transaction.
The Glazers are apparently willing to sell, if someone meets their ask of $5.6 billion. Forbes valued the team at $4.2 billion in April. Manchester United weathered the pandemic well, with revenue rising 2.6% in the last quarter of 2020, due to tremendous growth in broadcasting revenue.