Roman Abramovich put Chelsea up for sale on March 2, amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The 55-year-old was then sanctioned by the UK Government last week, after Downing Street claimed to have proved his links to Vladimir Putin.
Russian-Israeli billionaire Abramovich has always denied those links but had already moved to sell Chelsea amid the major geopolitical shift.
Following the sanctions imposed, numerous potential followers had until Friday to submit a bid to buy the Blues. Of those two candidates were Todd Boehly and Tom Ricketts?
But who are they? Sportsmail gets a view Stateside of the pair.
Todd Boehly does not run the Dodgers. For the matter, he also does not run the Lakers, another team in which he holds a minority ownership stake. His company, Eldridge, holds dozens of investments in firms ranging from sports and entertainment to gaming, technology and insurance. The controlling owner of the Dodgers is Mark Walter, not Boehly.
However, when Walter’s ownership group bought the Dodgers, Boehly negotiated the record-setting television rights deal that provided the team with more than enough money to sign whatever players they wanted. Boehly also supported ownership investments in renovating an old stadium, and in such non-traditional areas as nutrition and biomechanics for players, and in start-up companies testing out ways to shorten concession lines for fans.
From afar, it is difficult to say how involved Boehly might be in the operation of Chelsea. From Boehly’s Connecticut home, it is barely farther to London than to Los Angeles, and the Dodgers have succeeded with a strong management team in place in Los Angeles.
Todd Boehly is not the controlling owner of the LA Dodgers but has played pivotal part in their success
Boehly is one of the US businessmen hoping to buy Chelsea from Roman Abramovich
He believes so strongly in the value of sports and entertainment to bring people together, in person and via interactive technology, that he shrugs off critics who suggest he overpays for assets.
The Dodgers’ value was estimated at less than half of what Walter and Boehly paid for the team, and a decade later the value is twice what Walter and Boehly paid.
And, of course, the Dodgers win. They have made the playoffs nine years running – that is, in every year since Walter and Boehly bought the team. Boehly regularly shows up at the Dodgers’ playoff games, often wearing his Dodger-themed sneakers.
The Dodgers won the World Series in 2020 and they have made the play-offs nine years running
They won the World Series in 2020, calling to mind what Boehly had told the Los Angeles Times in 2012, the year he and Walter bought the team. At the time, the purchase price was considered so extravagant that Boehly was asked how he would define a successful ownership of the team.
‘You’re not really asking me that, are you?’ he said. ‘The more World Series we win, the more valuable a franchise it is, right?’
(By Bill Shaikin from the Los Angeles Times)
Hiring elite executive Theo Epstein, pouring hundreds of millions of dollars into renovating historic Wrigley Field and upgrading the neighborhood.
And snapping a century-long World Series drought.
That’s what Tom Ricketts did in lifting the Chicago Cubs from the depths of Major League Baseball to one of the elite franchises as recently as five years ago.
Tom Ricketts (right) has turned the Chicago Cubs into one of the elite franchises
Ricketts, 55, became a Cubs fan while attending the University of Chicago, and he’s likely to engage with Chelsea fans while the honeymoon is fresh.
After buying the Cubs from billionaire blowhard Sam Zell for about $900 million in 2009, Ricketts would stroll along the upper deck concourse and toss baseballs to random fans. In recent winters, families have enjoyed access to an ice rink adjacent to Wrigley.
But in recent years, Ricketts has been less visible as the team’s fortunes have declined. A year prior to the COVID pandemic, Tom and his siblings no longer participated in a family seminar during the team’s annual fan convention, claiming interest had waned.
The Cubs though suffered heavy financially losses due to Covid which disturbed many fans
Boehly and Ricketts are among the strong contenders to take over at Stamford Bridge
Nearly two years ago, Ricketts alleged he and other baseball owners faced “biblical” revenue losses because of the pandemic. That disturbed many fans, especially those with depleted incomes or loss of jobs.
Ricketts didn’t detail the losses, but his family owns several local businesses – including a boutique hotel across the street from Wrigley Field.
The Cubs’ six most popular players left through free agency or trade after the 2020 season, fueling fans’ nightmares of another rebuild.
Stamford Bridge may receive necessary renovations, and the neighborhood could be more family friendly. But sustained success could be fleeting.
(By Mark Gonzalez, sports writer in Chicago)