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Ryan Reynolds ventures further into sports; acquires stake in Formula 1 team

It's another major investment in the sports world for two world-renowned actors. PIC: Peter Byrne, AP

Ryan Reynolds has major hits at the box office and your favorite streaming service. There were National Lampoon's Van Wilder, The Proposal, Green Lantern, and others; all which gave way to his roles in Deadpool & Deadpool 2. It's no secret that if you have any passion for pop culture whatsoever, you know Ryan Reynolds.

But in recent years - even with his acting career still in full-swing - Reynolds is making his mark on the world as a figure that sports management teachers will point to as "exemplary" for years.

Bolstered by the success of their efforts with other endeavors in the sports world in recent times, Reynolds and business partner & fellow actor Rob McElhenney - along with Otro Capital, RedBird Capital, and actor Michael B. Jordan - have set their sights on the rapidly-growing world of Formula 1. Together, they have acquired a 24% stake in the Alpine Formula 1 team, investing a staggering $218 million.

This move values the Alpine team at an impressive $900 million, offering the trio a fresh opportunity to drive meaningful revenue to the team while benefiting from their star power.

"Formula 1 and Alpine are strategic assets for Renault Group," said Luca de Meo, the CEO of Renault Group, which owns a majority stake in Alpine 1. "Over the past two years, we have re-ignited Alpine, capitalizing on its iconic A110 sports coupé, boosting it by entering Formula 1, where it aims to become a championship contender. This partnership will accelerate Alpine F1 development by diversifying revenue drivers and increasing brand value."

A few years ago, together with McElhenney, Ryan Reynolds purchased Wrexham AFC, a football club in the 5th division of the English football pyramid, for $2.5 million. Wrexham was in the gutter What followed was a series of strategic moves and captivating storytelling that transformed the club's fortunes and established a blueprint for success.

Reynolds and McElhenney wasted no time in launching "Welcome to Wrexham," a documentary-style show on FX inspired by Netflix's highly popular F1 series, Drive to Survive. The show became an instant hit, earning Wrexham more than $3.2 million in revenue from a single season, surpassing the club's initial valuation. With approximately $400,000 generated per hour of content and an 8-part series, the show proved to be a financial triumph.

The effects of this unique approach to storytelling were not limited to monetary gains. Wrexham experienced a surge in popularity across various social media platforms. The club's Twitter following skyrocketed from 45,000 to 532,000, Instagram followers surged from 27,000 to 975,000, and TikTok followers soared from zero to 1.4 million (credit: Joe Pompliano, LinkedIn).

The increased attention translated into tangible revenue as Wrexham secured kit sponsorship deals with prominent companies like TikTok, Expedia & United Airlines.

The local community embraced the vision put forth by Reynolds and McElhenney, resulting in a substantial rise in season ticket sales. The number of fans purchasing season tickets nearly tripled, with figures climbing from 2,609 in 2019 to 6,820 in 2022. This remarkable growth demonstrates how the power of community, storytelling, and marketing can dramatically impact the fortunes of a sports organization.

Reynolds had been vocal about acquiring a stake in the Ottawa Senators of the NHL, who had been rumored to express mutual interest, but his ownership group removed itself from the running before the Sens were sold to Canadian businessman Michael Andlauer in June.

When asked about potentially buying the Senators this past November, Reynolds admitted he was interested: "I am trying to; it's very expensive, so I need a partner with really deep pockets," Reynolds told Jimmy Fallon. "It's called a consortium, when you form a group to buy an entity, and it's such a fancy way of saying, 'I need a sugar mommy or a sugar daddy,' and if that doesn't happen, I'll buy a U.S. senator, which everyone can afford."

With the rapid expansion of Formula 1 across the world, Reynolds is making another strategic bet in the sports world. One thing is for certain; if he has the success he's already had with Wrexham AFC, he'll continue to amplify the transformative power of innovative storytelling in the realm of athletics.


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