Red Bull: A Premier League Opportunity?

In the world of sport, many corporate companies and businesses have fluttered an interest in the money making possibilities in owning a Sports team or brand. Splattered everywhere is eye-catching adverts from the world’s most popular brands, whether on the back of a motor car, on an athlete’s attire or on a sideboard in a stadium, you cannot escape the capitalism.
Red Bull are arguably the biggest players in the game when it comes to sport advertising. Organising their own unique events (Stock Car Racing and Cliff Diving the particular highlights) began the trend of Red Bull being the backbone money funder of “unique” sports.
No longer just an energy drink that cannot be good for you in the long run, they are now speeding around Formula 1 tracks with the best driver and car in the sport (proven with their fourth title victory on the trot this past weekend) and most importantly in this context, since 2008 have been the owners of the New York Red Bulls (who play at the Red Bull Arena) in Major League Soccer in the US and own other teams in Ghana, Brazil and Salzburg in Austria.

A recent rumour, picked up by The Mirror (which can be read here) was thrown about within the media that the Austrian Business were looking into buying a Premier League club and develop them into a Champions League team. Now as with all media, we shall take this with a pinch of salt until proven otherwise, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have a little ponder.
Hypothetically speaking, who would be the perfect fit for Red Bulls plans? Here’s a look at some of the most likely candidates.:

Aston Villa Randy Lerner (Majority Shareholder)
Lerner has put substantial money into the club (over 100 million since 2006) and was hit by the banking crisis. Apart from the buy of Christian Benteke, no other true positive has been brought into Villa, perhaps a good choice for Red Bull, a legendary top league club that can perhaps return to past glories?

Everton Bill Kenright (Majority Shareholder)
A team already spending the future money available to them from TV revenue, Everton, although succeeding further than many expected, are leaving it down to the players they’ve managed to attain cheaply (a young Leighton Baines back in the mid-noughties, Romelu Lukaku on loan from Chelsea and Ross Barkley from the academy keeping them afloat this season). Everton are stretching themselves further and further, and with no new stadium or training facilities and a transfer budget coming from loans from the bank, cannot evolve into the European team they actually could be. The board of directors could be difficult to shift, especially Bill Kenright (chairman since the late 80s) but to see the team succeed beyond their dreams could be a tempting proposition for the Mersey Side Blues.

Sunderland Ellis Short (Majority Shareholder)
Another club owned by an American Sports tycoon, Sunderland are at tenterhooks, not just with remaining in the Premier League, but if relegated, being up for the sale. Financially speaking Ellis Short cannot afford the damage relegation will cause his team, and with Sunderland scrambling at what is a tight fight at the bottom of the table, we may see Short cut his losses and sell to an enthusiastic company.

This is all hypothetically speaking, there’s a lot that would need to happen for Red Bull to even consider the purchase of a team that would have an illustrious history within the Premier League, and may even look into the lower leagues to build and develop if the right team isn’t available at the top tier.

Ross Jones

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