EPL: Debt, Rebellion and the American Takeover

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EPL: Debt, Rebellion and the American Takeover

Last week Stan Kroenke an American billionaire, increased his ownership in Arsenal Football Club to 62.9 percent. Kroenke is the latest member in a growing trend in the Barclays English Premier League of American ownership.

Now Kroenke is the fifth American owner in the EPL and now Americans represent one-quarter of the league's clubs. 

Kroenke has said that his new increased ownership wasn't financed with debt, and that smaller share-holders will still be allowed to hold onto their stake. It remains to be seen whether he will do better at the helm of Arsenal than his American sports franchises: the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche, Colorado Rapids and the Denver Nuggets.

With the current landscape in American sports, it's not surprising wealthy American entrepreneurs are anxious to purchase some stake in "the world's game." However, as a football fan, I'm skeptical of the American ownership.

The major professional sports leagues in the United States are presently in serious turmoil. The NFL is currently in a labor dispute and are literally in the midst of a lock out and litigation. The NBA is headed for an inevitable lockout next season with similar issues to the NFL. In addition to that, the NHL has also never truly recovered from their strike in 2004-5, in which the entire season was lost and poor television contracts ensued.

American influence in board rooms and the front office of some of the world's biggest football clubs offers serious potential for economic instability and problems.

Even though the structure of the English football and the major sports leagues and franchises of the US are different, this could serve as the catalyst for major change in the EPL if this trend continues. 

The following is a brief synopsis of the American ownership in the EPL and their current financial status.

Statistics and money values are listed in Euros from The Financial Times (according to each clubs' financial accounts 2010)

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