Once their active participation in sport is over, many former players then move into entirely different careers. However, some may decide to continue on in a career as a coach or manager, while a just a few may be fortunate enough to have the disposable funds with which to enjoy the luxury of becoming an owner or partner in a sports team of their own.
Following on from their own superstar careers with Manchester United Football Club, five former players from the famous ‘Class of ‘92’ are now part owners of another Manchester football club. In 2014, Ryan Giggs, Gary Neville, Phil Neville, Paul Scholes and Nicky Butt, all former Red Devils, each acquired a 10% share in Salford City Football Club. They take a hands-on interest in the club’s fortunes, which in the case of Scholes and Phil Neville has even involved a short spell as a caretaker management team. All player/owners share a great ambition to take their club to the highest levels of English football, a dream which is very much on track because Salford City FC have since gained three league promotions in just four years.
Perhaps inspired by their example, former Manchester United team-mate David Beckham is now the owner of a Miami MLS soccer team known as Club Internacional de Futbol Miami.
Tennis stars getting into a different racket
Global tennis stars Serena and Venus Williams are both South Florida girls and so are proud to have become minority owners of Miami Dolphins, their ‘home’ National Football League team. As Venus explains, this joyful partnership between the NFL and the best of women’s tennis brings the sisters great benefits: “It’s great going to the games for us [because] when we play tennis, you’re so focused, you don’t really get to feel that atmosphere. When we go to a Dolphins game, we get to soak in the atmosphere and we realize, ‘Oh my God, we do this, too.'”
The sisters know Dolphins’ running back Ronnie Brown personally, and Brown believes that, as female tennis stars Serena and Venus may help his team to reach a wider audience: “It’s exciting,” he said. “I hope they can draw a different crowd to the sport. Hopefully we get some of their fans to be Dolphins fans.”
Basketball players shooting for team honours
Yao Ming and Shaquille O’Neal are two former NBA basketball players who each decided to return to the sport as owners. Can you imagine that? It would be just like, after years of playing roulette, ending up as a casino owner.
Yao Ming, who enjoyed a brief yet brilliant NBA career, decided to purchase Shanghai Sharks, a Chinese Basketball Association team based in Shanghai. This is the team which he joined as a player before moving on to become an NBA legend. Yao Ming is the sole owner of the Sharks and remains actively involved in their progress.
Once he retired as a player, Shaquille O’Neal tried various careers before being called upon to act as an advisor to the California-based Sacramento Kings. Shortly after this, in 2013, he bought his own stake in the club, thus kick-starting a new era for the “Shaqramento” Kings.