Ryan Reynolds is back on television on Wednesday for a new series of Welcome to Wrexham, which charts the promotion campaign of the non-league team he bought with acting buddy Rob McElhenney.
The pair invested in the Welsh football club, taking control in 2021 and have since broadened their sport profile by becoming part of an investor group taking a 24 per cent equity stake in Formula One team Alpine.
As the second series, which is available on Disney+, will show, investing in sport is risky and the see-saw nature of the game can quickly leave a team’s bank balance in jeopardy or as McElhenney put it: “If we do not get promoted this year, we are f***ed.”
But they seem to have the bug and have expanded their investments to the most glamorous and perilous money-draining sport of the lot in F1. Reynolds’ Maximum Effort production company has teamed up with Otro Capital and RedBird Capital Partners, with fellow actor Michael B Jordan among the investors in Alpine.
The actors are part of a $200m (£157m) investment, which values British-based Alpine Racing at about £706m.
What is Ryan Reynolds’ net worth?
According to celebritynetworth.com, Reynolds, 46, has a net worth of $350 million.
Reynolds' entrepreneurial ventures, notably the sales of Aviation Gin and Mint Mobile, have contributed to his wealth. But his acting career has been the biggest factor in his earning power. First starring in the Canadian teen soap opera Hillside (1991–1993), he quickly became known for his charm and humour.
He played the lead role in the sitcom Two Guys and a Girl between 1998 and 2001, and then had parts in successful films such as National Lampoon’s Van Wilder, The Proposal and Safe House, among others.
Reynolds’s biggest commercial success is with the 20th Century Fox X-Men films Deadpool (2016) and Deadpool 2 (2018), in which he played the title character. Deadpool grossed more than $780 million worldwide, while Deadpool 2 took more than $688 million.
Reynolds belongs to a select group of actors who can command $20 million up front to star in a film.
He is also a successful entrepreneur, who has invested in several companies. One of these is Aviation American Gin, which he bought in 2018 and has helped to become a well-known brand. He sold Aviation Gin to Diageo in August 2020, in a deal that may have a final value of $610 million if the brand sells well in the next decade. Reynolds has already received an upfront payment of $335 million. He is thought to own 20 per cent of the brand.
Reynolds bought a small share in the telephone company Mint Mobile in December 2019. T-Mobile purchased Mint in March as part of a deal that was initially valued at $1.35 billion.
Why did Ryan Reynolds buy Wrexham?
Reynolds bought Wrexham with fellow comedy actor McElhenney in November 2020. They funded the club’s return to the English Football League for the first time since its relegation in 2007/08, after winning the National League title in April.
A FX documentary released on Disney+ in the UK, Welcome to Wrexham, tracks the club’s journey from the early days of Reynolds’ and McElhenney’s takeover and attracted a global audience.
Humphrey Ker, a British writer, actor and friend of Reynolds and McElhenney, is the main reason why the pair decided to take over the club.
Ker, who is the club’s executive director, told ITV Wales that he introduced McElhenney to football when they worked on a show together. He suggested McElhenney should watch some football documentaries during a Covid lockdown.
Ker said: “He [Rob] just fell in love with it. He texted me back the next day and said: ‘Right let's buy a team'."
“Rob wanted to find somewhere which had that link between the club and fans – all clubs do but Wrexham has that more than others. It just jumped to the top of the pile – it became so clear.”
Ker contacted the Wrexham Supporters’ Trust, which needed investment after the pandemic. McElhenney then went in search of a big-money sponsor and contacted Reynolds, whom he had never met, but who leapt at the idea.
How much did Ryan Reynolds pay for Wrexham?
Wrexham were in the fifth division of English football, or four leagues below the Premier League, at the time of the purchase.
Reynolds and McElhenney were able to buy the club with no down payment. However, they agreed to contribute about $2.6 million to infrastructure upgrades.
They gained control of the club in February 2021.
They have since invested in the club’s playing staff as well as its facilities. A new 5,000-seat stand is being built at one end of the club’s home, the Racecourse Ground, the oldest international football venue still in use.
Who is Alpine F1?
Alpine F1 is a British-based Formula 1 team. It won the Formula One constructors’ world championship in 2005 and 2006 when it competed as Renault’s works team and also as Benetton in 1995. It finished fourth in the championship in 2022.
Of the investment, Alpine’s chief executive, Laurent Rossi, said: “This association is an important step to enhance our performance at all levels.”
“Otro Capital, RedBird Capital Partners and Maximum Effort Investments, as international players with a strong track record in the sports industry, will bring their recognised expertise to boost our media and marketing strategy, essential to support our sporting performance over the long term.”