Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have been approved to take 100% control of the fifth-tier Welsh soccer club Wrexham AFC. The team was previously owned by a fan-controlled non-profit.
Wrexham plays in the National League, which is four tiers below the English Premier League. The league doesn’t have a broadcast deal.
The duo’s bid for the club included plans to grow its popularity through media content, like a “Hard Knocks”-esque documentary series. Other soccer clubs including Manchester City, Tottenham Hotspur, Sunderland AFC and Leeds United have already gotten documentary deals with streaming platforms.
Reynolds and McElhenney won’t pay anything up front for the club, but have said they want to invest about $2.6 million into the endeavor. Wrexham currently projects a $393,480 loss on $2.75 million in revenue for 2020-21, but estimates suggest a TV show could generate an extra $3.1 million in revenue.
The team will surely also benefit from Reynolds and McElhenney’s individual star power.
Reynolds, who is currently starring in “Deadpool” and is known to be active on social media, has 16.8 million Twitter followers and 36.5 million on instagram. The “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” creator and star McElhenny has about 574,000 Twitter followers and 895,000 on instagram.
Wrexham’s official Twitter account currently has fewer than 60,000 followers.
Shortly after the announcement, the new owners released a short, comical video from Wrexham’s Twitter account introducing themselves to the fan base. It garnered 200,000 views in about 30 minutes.
Reynolds and McElhenney’s move is just the latest in a recent string of North American investors getting involved in European soccer.