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Russell Westbrook has become the latest American sports star to invest in English soccer.
The Los Angeles Clippers guard announced his investment in Leeds United FC Thursday during the Variety and Sportico Sports & Entertainment Summit in California, Sportico‘s Eric Jackson reported.
Westbrook recently re-signed with the Clippers on a two-year, $7.8-million deal.
The 49ers Enterprises, the venture capital arm of the San Francisco 49ers, took over ownership of the club in June after majority shareholder Andrea Radrizzani agreed to sell his stake. The 49ers group originally joined with a 10 percent investment in Leeds in 2018.
At the time of the sale, Leeds’ valuation had recently dropped from approximately $630 million to $210 million due to its relegation from the Premier League. That plummet has allowed new investors like Westbrook and Spieth to join in.
The Yorkshire club was last relegated in 2004. It took 16 seasons for them to return.
After the club was relegated in May, former manager Sam Allardyce cited ownership uncertainty as a problem that needed to be “sorted out” before the club could succeed, per Forbes.
Leeds will now hope its slate of new investors can help the club climb back into the highest tier of English soccer. Relegated teams still receive some funding from the Premier League in their first season in the second tier, giving the owners a financial cushion as the club determines the next steps.