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Elon Musk joked about buying Manchester United. Here’s how much he would have to pay—for Man U and other famous sports franchises

August 17, 2022, 6:58 PM UTC
Elon Musk says he has no plans to buy a sports team.
Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for The Met Museum/Vogue

The man who keeps riling up the Twitterverse is at it again. On Tuesday, Elon Musk teased he would purchase his favorite childhood sports team, tweeting “Also, I’m buying Manchester United ur welcome.”

While many fans of the famous club would love to see new ownership after the Red Devils slid to the bottom of the Premier League table with a surprising loss to Brentford, it looks like it’s not in the cards. Musk soon replied to clamors of whether or not he was serious, tweeting: “No, this is a long-running joke on Twitter. I’m not buying any sports teams.”

It was not just social media users who took notice of Musk’s tweets. Manchester United, a publicly traded company, saw its stock (MANU) briefly shoot up more than 2% the morning after the tweets, the Wall Street Journal reported. However, the small rally faded after it became clear the news was just another joke by the world’s richest man.

Musk may not buy a sports franchise anytime soon, but they are increasingly becoming popular investments among celebrities. Recently, Formula 1 star Lewis Hamilton reportedly purchased an ownership stake in the Denver Broncos, who underwent a sale to a group led by Rob Walton, the heir to Walmart’s fortunes.

And sports franchises are not cheap either. According to Forbes’s most recent rankings of the most valuable teams, published in 2021, the average valuation of the world’s 50 richest teams jumped 9.9% to $3.4 billion, with the top 10 most valuable sports teams each having valuations of over $4.2 billion.

Where does Manchester United rank on that list? The Glazer family’s prized possession comes in just outside the top 10, ranking 11th at a $4.2 billion valuation.

United is one of nine soccer clubs to be featured on the list, which includes fellow Premier League teams Liverpool (12th at $4.1 billion), Manchester City (13th at $4 billion), Chelsea (tied for 25th at $3.2 billion) and Arsenal (38th at $2.8 billion). Twenty-six football teams, nine basketball teams, and six baseball teams comprised the rest of the top 50.

Theoretically, Musk could buy not just Man U but all of the teams on Forbes’ top 50 list. With a net worth of $272 billion according to Forbes, he is worth more than 60 times as much as the Red Devils and almost 50 times as much as the Dallas Cowboys.

But just because Musk is not willing to buy does not mean someone isn’t willing to take up the mantle in the future. According to reports by Bloomberg, the Glazers are willing to sell a minority stake in the club; however, there has been no indication that they are “ready to cede control of Manchester United.”

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