Shaq Pondering Soccer Investment

June 28, 2024

A big fan of sports, and a big investor in business, our man Shaq may be ready to put those two interests together with one new opportunity. He’s always on the lookout for ways to put money to work in cool and interesting ways, no matter where or in what business. This new part of the Shaq business empire is across the pond, as they say!

Sources are saying that former NBA superstar Shaquille O’Neal is currently sitting down for business talks in what could be a major investment in West Ham United, a British soccer club. Or as the Brits say, football. Yes, seems we Americans have been “borrowing” that name for one of our favorite sports for many, many years. 

For those that don’t follow British soccer leagues, West Ham United – the Hammers, as they’re known – is based in Stratford, East London, England. Not sure how that works out to “West Ham,” but we’re definitely in the camp of “don’t know Jack” about British soccer. We’re thinking that’s about to change, however. Seems O’Neal took an interest in the team after seeing a match in person last season. He’s been interested in becoming a shareholder ever since.

Shaquille O’Neal | Nick Agro/E! Entertainment/Getty Images

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British newspaper The Sun recently reported someone close to the team told them, “Shaq loves British football and he has been talking about putting some serious cash into the club. He went to a game at the end of the season and loved it. It’s now a case of whether the financials stack up for him. Shaq is really interested in what deal he could strike.”

As for the team itself, the Hammers have got some work to do. They finished ninth in the Premier League last year, not a great showing. But they did win the Europa Conference League Championship the year before. 

The new Premier League season starts in August, and runs through next May (and you think baseball has a long schedule!). The team reported a £18.3million loss in the 2022/23 season. For those of us on this side of the Atlantic, that’s a little over $23 million US dollars. 

There have been some changes in team upper management, and the current group of four majority owners are on the lookout for more outside investment. American investment guru Albert ‘Tripp’ Smith, 52, owns about 8% of the team as a minority investor. 

If Shaq invests in the Hammers he would be the latest in a string American sports stars and celebrities investing in British soccer clubs. NBA legend Lebron James owns a stake in Liverpool after becoming a partner in their American ownership group Fenway. James has owned a two per cent stake in the Premier League champions since 2011.

Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney own percentages of Wrexham FC (Football Club). Will Ferrell (of Anchorman fame) has an investment in the team at Leeds, and NFL star Tom Brady has a large investment at Birmingham City.


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