The Ricketts family are among the final bidders hoping to seal a takeover at Chelsea, as current owner Roman Abramovich looks to sell after 19 years in charge of Stamford Bridge.
The Ricketts family is headed by patriarch Joe Ricketts, co-owner of baseball’s Chicago Cubs with his four children: Tom, Laura, Pete and Todd. It’s Tom, who serves as president of the Cubs, and Laura, who are specifically leading the bid for Chelsea.
Tom led the family’s acquisition of the Cubs in 2009, estimated to be worth up to $900 million. He is the co-founder and former CEO of a financial services company after initially working at other companies early in his business career.
In addition to being on the Cubs board, Laura is a liberal and LGBTQ activist. As a Democrat, she also differs politically from the rest of her family, as well as serving on the National Leadership Council for Lambda Legal, a long-standing civil rights organization for those in the LGBTQ community and those living with HIV/AIDS. . She is America’s first openly gay owner of a major league sports team.
Pete is a Republican politician and is the current sitting Governor of Nebraska, where the family comes from. Todd is on the board of directors for Joe’s financial brokerage firm, TD Ameritrade, and is also the finance chairman of the Republican National Committee.
Joe Ricketts, 80, made his fortune in the financial industry and co-founded a brokerage firm in 1975 that eventually became TD Ameritrade. He eventually left the company in 2011 to focus on startups and philanthropy.
The estimated total net worth of the family has been reported to be $4.9 billion.
The Ricketts family is not the only party in his bid for Chelsea.
Hedge fund manager Ken Griffin, whose estimated net worth is $28.5 billion, is part of the group and would become a Chelsea shareholder if the Ricketts takeover is successful. Despite his enormous finances, he has largely played a supporting role.
Rock Entertainment Group is also part of the offer. They own several sports teams, including the NBA’s Cleveland Cavaliers, and are led by Dan Gilbert. His net worth is believed to be even higher than Griffin’s, with an estimated $31 billion.
Before facing Brentford in the Premier League on April 2, up to 100 Chelsea fans gathered outside Stamford Bridge to protest the Ricketts family over historic comments Joe Ricketts made using Islamophobic language.
Chelsea Supporters’ Trust (CST) said its member “neither supports nor has confidence” in the family as potential new owners of the club. More than three quarters of those surveyed did not support his candidacy.
In the wake of fan outcry, the Ricketts family issues a list of promises to Chelsea supporters in a bid to curry favor, including things like avoiding a future attempt at the European Super League and specifically promoting diversity and inclusion.
1. Do not modify the name, crest and club crest, or Chelsea blue, without the consent of the supporters.
2. Never participate in a European Super League and always protect the integrity and heritage of Chelsea FC
3. Commit the necessary resources at all levels of the club to continue to win trophies, including investment in the first team, experienced football leadership and the academy.
4. Put diversity and inclusion at the heart of the club and fight against any form of discrimination or inequality.
5. Create a diversely represented Advisory Committee to ensure our decisions are informed by: a former men’s and women’s first team player, members of the CST and Chelsea Pitch Owners, and influential community leaders.
6. Explore all options to rebuild Stamford Bridge and do everything in our power to continue playing in this historic stadium.
7. Match the current commitment to Chelsea FC Women and increase the number of women’s matches played at Stamford Bridge.
8. Continue the vital charitable work of the Chelsea Foundation, seeking to use the power of football and sport to motivate, educate and inspire.
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