Consortium Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams Broughton

Chelsea’s home stadium, Stamford Bridge, is seen through trees in London on March 10, 2022, as Chelsea’s Russian owner Roman Abramovich was hit with a UK asset freeze and ban to travel, throwing his plan to sell the European and club world champions into disarray.

Justin Tallis | AFP | Getty Images

Lewis Hamilton and Serena Williams are pledging millions of pounds in one of the bids vying to become Chelsea’s new owners.

Sky News can exclusively reveal the full list of investors backing the club’s takeover bid led by Sir Martin Broughton, the former chairman of Liverpool and British Airways – the most prominent of whom are the seven-time Formula 1 world champion and the former world No. 1 in tennis.

Sources close to the group said Hamilton and Williams – the most prominent members of one of the three remaining consortia – had pledged around £10m each in the bid.

The two Hamiltons, who will compete for Mercedes at the Emilia-Romagna Grand Prix at Imola this weekend – live on Sky Sports – and Williams, who has won 23 Grand Slams including seven Wimbledon titles, have become established investors in their own right in recent years.

Serena Ventures, the tennis star’s venture capital fund, this week announced an investment in Opensponsorship, a British sports tech start-up, while Hamilton has backed a series of start-ups such as Zapp, the fast grocery delivery based in London. application.

Their involvement in the Chelsea auction is unexpected, not least because Hamilton is an Arsenal fan.

Hamilton and Williams have, however, been in talks with the group led by Broughton for several weeks.

It was unclear Thursday morning which corporate entities the pair would use to invest in the Blues.

The consortium is uniquely British-led among the trio of shortlisted bidders and features another British sporting icon in the form of Sebastian Coe among its backers.

A source close to the group said the addition of Hamilton and Williams was a serious investment decision because of their experience building global sports brands.

They also pointed out that the pair’s involvement was not the first time famous athletes have supported a Premier League club – NBA star LeBron James has been a small shareholder in Liverpool for more than a decade.

Under the consortium’s plans, Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment (HBSE), the holding company run by US private equity billionaires Josh Harris and Dave Blitzer, would own a majority stake in Chelsea – although they will have to divest their minority stake in Crystal Palace forward to close a deal.

Their involvement in the ownership and management of Crystal Palace since 2015 is also a distinguishing factor among the remaining bidders for Chelsea.

Other investors in the group led by Broughton include: the Canadian Rogers family, which has a large stake in the media and telecommunications company Rogers Communications; John Arnold, who chaired the bid committee for the 2026 FIFA World Cup in Houston; and the Tsai family of Taiwan, owners of the Taipei Fubon Braves and Fubon Guardians baseball teams.

Like Sky News Alejandro Santo Domingo, heir to one of the world’s greatest brewing fortunes and an investor in several North American sports franchises, is also investing in the offering, reported Monday.

Sources close to the Broughton-led bid said the diversity of its list of global investors was among the factors that persuaded Hamilton and Williams to get involved.

An insider suggested Hamilton would likely play an official role in Chelsea’s future efforts to promote diversity, equity and inclusion if the bid is successful.

He and Williams have been advocates in their respective sports and beyond promoting equality, lending their names to numerous anti-discrimination initiatives.

This issue was highlighted earlier in Chelsea’s sale process when one of the bidders – a consortium led by the Ricketts family, owners of the Chicago Cubs – was forced to distance itself from historic Islamophobic remarks.

The Broughton Consortium are said to believe they are best placed of the remaining Consortia to navigate the complexities of owning Chelsea, including the potential redevelopment of their Stamford Bridge home.

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