Manchester City are not only one of the richest and (currently) most powerful football clubs in the world, but their ownership group continues to invest in the sport. Manchester City’s owners currently own eight — yes eight! — professional football clubs scattered about the world. A ninth team is on the verge of being added to the Manchester City portfolio as the club continue to spread their reach across to all corners of the world.
Manchester City’s owners, City Football Group (CFG) own:
- Manchester City (England)
- New York City (USA)
- Melbourne City (Australia)
- Yokohama F Marinos (Japan)
- Montevideo City Torque (Uruguay)
- Girona (Spain)
- Sichuan Jiuniu (China)
- Mumbai City (India)
Each club have had differing results on the pitch despite being owned by mega-rich CFG. Now, CFG want to add Belgium’s Lommel SK to their portfolio making them the ninth club to fall under the group’s umbrella. If the purchase is made, and it certainly seems that it will be, Lommel SK will be the first purchase by CFG since November 2019 when Mumbai City was bought.
Why are Manchester City’s owners buying these clubs?
CFG are not the only ownership group buying up a number of football clubs. Watford’s owners, the Pozzo family, bought the Hornets while owning Serie A’s Udinese and Spain’s Granada. When the Pozzo family bought Watford it raised eyebrows although owning multiple teams seems more normal nowadays. Udinese, Granada, and Watford have regularly shuttled players between them on loans or through transfers.
The Red Bull-owned clubs of RB Leipzig, Red Bull Salzburg, the New York Red Bulls, and RB Brasil are very similar. Many of the players that end up at RB Leipzig in Germany’s Bundesliga have played for either Salzburg or New York previously. Even current Salzburg manager Jesse Marsch managed the New York outfit before working as an assistant in Leipzig prior to getting the job in Austria.
Owning multiple teams allows clubs like Manchester City to filter through players and coaches. It is the same as having a feeder club for the team that is perceived as the “main team”. It is also a way for ownership groups to diversify and spread their reach all over the globe.
In January 2020, CFG was valued at $4.8 billion. To say CFG are not a traditional ownership group would be an understatement. The company owns teams in the world’s most populous countries (India and China) which will only increase the number of potential fans each club has. Ultimately, those fans won’t support just their club. They will support CFG and the multiple teams they own. In the end, it will all lead back to Manchester City, the biggest of the (so far) nine clubs under the CFG banner.