Seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton and 23 times Grand Slam winner Serena Williams are committing around Ksh3 billion to one of the bids vying to become the new owners of Chelsea Football Club.
Both of world sport’s greatest athletes have agreed to invest an estimated £20m into the consortium spearheaded by former Liverpool FC chairman Sir Martin Broughton, who is also the chairman of British Airways.
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Sources close to the group told Sky News that Sir Lewis and Williams – the highest-profile members of any of the three remaining consortia – had pledged an estimated £10m each to the bid.
Both Sir Lewis, who will compete for his Mercedes team at the Emilia Romagna Grand Prix at Imola, Bologna, Italy this weekend, 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-based sports technology start-up, while Sir Lewis has backed a range of early-stage companies such as Zapp, the London-based rapid grocery delivery app.
The involvement in the Chelsea bid by Hamilton comes as a shock to many as he is an Arsenal fan. Less than 24 hours ago, his team won a thrilling 4-2 encounter at Stamford Bridge.
“The pitch is difficult to play here, maybe it sounds like an excuse but it is a very difficult pitch here, not to our favour.
“The ball bounces very awkwardly in front of Andreas but still we had the same mistake against Real Madrid that cost us the next round in the Champions League. This one cost us this match,” Chelsea head coach Thomas Tuchel lamented with regards to the poor state of the stadium.
The Blues have been up for sale since march after Roman Abramovich was sanctioned by the UK government owing to his ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin, who declared war against Ukraine.
The other two remaining bidders in the race to purchase Chelsea are consortiums headed by Todd Boehly who is part of the owners of the LA Dodgers baseball team, and Steve Pagliuca, who has shares in the NBA’s Boston Celtics and Serie A’s Atalanta.
The Broughton-led group’s other investors include Canada’s Rogers family, which holds a big interest in the media and telecoms company Rogers Communications; John Arnold, who chaired the Houston 2026 FIFA World Cup bid committee; and Taiwan’s Tsai family, which owns the Taipei Fubon Braves and Fubon Guardians, baseball teams.
Sir Martin’s consortium is said to believe that it is best placed of the remaining consortia to navigate the complexities of owning Chelsea, including the prospective redevelopment of its Stamford Bridge home.