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One Careful Owner is a new series from the Leaders Sport Business Podcast that features exclusive conversations with the people who invest billions into teams. Who have a unique handle on where the industry is going. On media rights. On globalisation. On asset creation. On trading players. On the risks, rewards and the pitfalls. On the pressures and demands. The unique challenges and often downright weird situations that only sports owners have experienced. And all while they’re doing their day job.
Our guest today is Tony Bloom, the man from the south coast of England who made his money as a professional gambler – betting on sport and at poker tables around the world – before investing in his home town football club, Brighton & Hove Albion, and leading them to the top tier division after 34 years away from it and numerous failures along the way.
Tony is a rare breed of modern sports owner. His family have always been fans of the club – and so has he. He’s put hundreds of millions of his own money into Brighton since he became chairman in 2009, and taken not a penny out. He’s been patient and he understands the fabric of the club. For him, a return is not about ROI, but creation of a legacy, and leaving the club in much better place than he found it.
It was rare and candid interview which we recorded soon after Brighton had secured another season of Premier League football earlier in the summer. We talk about how ownership has changed and how it will in the future; investing in a football club; what he’s most proud of; his ambitions for the club – which have evolved and grown as the club has; how much time he spends on the club and who he trusts within it; and of course, what he thinks of the attempted breakaway to form a European Super League.