How Wrexham Have Grown on & off the Pitch

Grace Crispin

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How Wrexham Have Grown on & off the Pitch

February 9th 2021, American stars Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney bought Wrexham Football Club for £2 million. A strange move in the eyes of most, as Wrexham currently sit in a respectable second in the National League, hardly the full glamour of the Premier League.

The monopolisation of British and European sport by Americans has become a bigger fear for many football fans in recent years, with unsavoury relationships brewing with American ownership at clubs like Arsenal and Manchester United and a significant increase with Liverpool and now Chelsea having American owners.

There are many reasons as to why an American investor may choose to do so in English football, as it is a global game with increasing media rights and much lower valuations than NFL or NBA teams depending on the league you decide to invest in.

This could’ve been worsened by Reynolds and McElhenney’s choice of club, Wrexham being the third oldest club in the world, Wrexham being Wales’ first-ever professional football team and being founded in 1864.

However, Reynolds and McElhenney have managed to foster a great relationship with fans in their time in charge and have managed to reinvent Wrexham on an international scale.

Fan Relationship

Before investment from Reynolds and McElhenney, the club was completely owned by the fans. This meant that before a purchase could go through, the two met (as best they could in 2020) with more than 2,000 fans over Zoom.

In order to prove their commitment to the club, Reynolds and McElhenney stated their intentions to invest $2.5 million into the club and to sign a 25-year stadium lease.

The latter soothed some fears over what has happened in the past in American franchises such as the NFL, where teams are purchased and moved to an entirely different state - a high-profile example of this being the LA Raiders becoming the Las Vegas Raiders.

Since the introduction of Reynolds and McElhenney as owners, there has been a spike in season ticket sales. In 2019 Wrexham sold 2,609 season tickets, but for the 2022 season, this more than doubled to 6,820 season tickets.

The investment and dedication to social media has also brought in a wealth of new sponsors to Wrexham. The most notable of these is Wrexham’s new kit sponsors: TikTok, Expedia, Vistaprint and Aviation American Gin.

The new popularity of Wrexham has also led to more television time for the team. Wrexham’s FA Cup Qualifying clash with Blyth Spartans is being aired on ESPN2 and ESPN+ which gives Wrexham the opportunity to reach nearly 100 million households across the world.

The Show

As part of their takeover of the club, Reynolds and McElhenney proposed a Netflix-style documentary that would follow the club through the purchase and the team on the pitch as they aimed for success.

Called “Welcome to Wrexham”, the show attempted to capitalise on the success of shows such as “All or Nothing” who have followed both Manchester City and Arsenal and the likes of “Drive to Survive” which follows Formula One.

The show also sought to exploit the success of Ted Lasso with American audiences, the show that follows an American coach at an English football club, much like Reynolds and McElhenney at Wrexham.

Welcome to Wrexham premiered on FX in August of 2022 to immediate success, both critically and financially.

The show was greenlit for a second season after receiving a 97% audience score, showing that there was more than enough interest to profit from their initial investment.

In terms of investment - Reynolds and McElhenney put $2.5 million in and the show alone made $400,000 per hour of content. In an eight-part series, this meant that the show created $3.2 million in revenue, giving the two Americans profit on their investment in Wrexham via the show alone.

Social Media

A big aspect of Wrexham’s newfound success has been the expert use of social media by the club. As the two investors are two big Hollywood stars, it was important to capitalise on their established popularity, so Wrexham had Ryan Reynolds, a man with a very recognisable voice across the world, do commentaries for TikToks.

These, and videos like these, were a large factor in Wrexham’s success on social media.

The Instagram following has increased from 27,000 to 208,000 and Wrexham’s Twitter following has risen from 45,000 to 209,000, a 607% and 364% increase respectively.

Though the biggest benefactor of Wrexham’s social media savviness is their TikTok account - which incidentally led to the app becoming one of Wrexham’s shirt sponsors. Since the investment came around the same time as the relaunch of TikTok, Wrexham started from zero like most other football clubs, but have worked their way up to 459,000 followers.

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