Daniel Ek of Spotify wanting to buy Arsenal + general ’Are billionaires ruining billionaire ball’ thread

So @anon5266188 retweeted this tweet of Linekar’s

Are there better & worse billionaires? Is underpaying artists per stream as bad as polluting the planet/running a monarchy/dictatorship/human rights violations? Is Gary gonna be equally disparaging of Qatar’22 ? Has the failed ESL been a wake up call among the punditry?

Also, if you’re an Arsenal fan would you rather have Kroenke or Ek? Will Kroenke ever sell?

And I guess this is also relevant for Newcastle fans…an inevitable Saudi takeover at some point? What’s the feeling?

Don’t really get what Gary’s point is. What’s wrong with wanting a change of owner when the current board treat the fans with such contempt?

They’ve failed to deliver on the most basic promises and haven’t been able to rely on success to paper over that. Their model hasn’t worked.

Until last week everyone was falling over themselves to praise the Liverpool owners and what a great job they’ve done. Why can’t Arsenal fans aspire to have that kind of model which up until the Super League was fairly ethical in Premier League terms?

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Reckon there are pretty much 3 separate questions at play in this and the most important, and commonly overlooked is the third:

Is there a scale of morality for money sources? - I’d say yes, and that making money from Spotify is less dodgy than making it from human rights violations. Doesn’t make it OK and obviously billionaires shouldn’t exist

Are there better and worse billionaires at owning clubs? - Again I reckon yes. Some run their clubs in far more coherent and responsible way than others, both in terms of footballing and long term structural security

BUT I don’t think either of those things matters massively. Giving full or majority power over a club to a single individual is bad. If I were an Arsenal fan I’d probably want Ek to take over from Kroenke, but until there are limits on owner power and fans have stakes in their clubs the rot in football is going to continue.

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Is he going to make them play every day for 20 hours so he can extract maximum value?

Neither

Yes, but not any time soon.

Ek doesn’t have the money to buy Arsenal outright. His wealth is tied up in Spotify shares. He would have to borrow the money against the current value of those shares. An owner over his ears in debt is not a good prospect for any football club.

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I thought this was a good piece

Yorkshire-based Arsenal fans right now: Buy Ek!

(Sorry everyone)

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Not entirely, he’s a major early investor in a company called Northvolt who have spent the last 5 years building the world’s largest electric car battery recycling plant in the north of Sweden with production finally due to begin at the end of this year. They promise the world’s most ethically sourced product & are signing deals with major car manufacturers that are going to make them very cash rich in a pretty short space of time

Spotify also has a shit ton of other assets, some fairly cash rich

Having said that, yes it would need to be a probably some kind of consortium buy-out with fundraising rounds, leveraged debt etc.

BUT I have been talking about ’Sportify’ since forever - a legit streaming platform for Sports in the same way that Spotify took over that Napster/Pirate Bay etc. space. And if I have had the idea, and if clubs are looking at the ’own your own TV rights’ model then, well, Arsenal could be the project to make it real

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Chicken and egg isn’t it. Did billionaires ruin football or did UEFA/FIFA/The Premier League ruin football by creating a hierarchy in which only billionaire-owned clubs could truly compete?

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Yeah i find the whole picking a different billionaire a bit gross.

AS far as i can tell everyone likes Mr Spotify as he tweeted that he grew up watching arsenal (and apparently watches every game EVEN if it clashes with a boardroom meeting…wow!) and is a fan. Well, i’d take a rich fan over a rich person with no interest thats for sure. But that rich fan is still going to be worried about his own bottom line and is still going to run it like a business.

As an arsenal fan i hate KSE and they way in which they are running the club, and for that reason i want them out. I can’t see any other way of them getting out without someone else obscenely rich coming in though - will they be better or worse? Who knows. On most levels though, they will be just as bad. I am not going to get excited and claim one is better thaan the other at this stage though for sure. I don’t know how people can get so excited that the boss of a company built on exploitation is interested in buying our club.

Its really hard to separate the team from the owners but i try more than ever just to focus on the sporting aspect as professional football is such a cesspit that engaging in the other stuff is so depressing. Even last week, it was hard to see it as a victory for fans but more a victory for this rich twats over here rather than those ones over there.

Pretty sure it was Alan Sugar. Watched that BT doc on the premier league starting and Sugar was so overjoyed that he basically played them all off against each other and secured it that Sky got the deal. Well snide.

(yeah i know in many many ways the prem has been great, but also…)

Can hear the chants at the North London Derby towards Ek

”You’re just a shit Alan Sugar
You’re just a shit Alan Sugar
You’re just a shit Alan Suuuugar…”

Etc

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I reckon billionaires buying in for various reasons was inevitable, and sovereign wealth funds were the obvious logical conclusion of that.

The governing bodies failure to prevent, and active promotion of some, of the skewing of resources being such that the only way to break into the old money cartel was to be able to spend a few hundred million a season for 5 or 6 seasons, is the bigger issue.

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Is the difference between these models not that where Napster/Pirate Bay was ruining the finances of the music industry, the current enormous TV rights deals work perfectly well for the big clubs? I get what you mean and can see the theoretical appeal, it seems like a hell of a lot of effort to fix something that isn’t broken at the moment though.

It would also be interesting to know what proportion of fans would be happy paying just for access to their own clubs’ games, and what would be annoyed that they’re losing access to additional matches. I genuinely don’t know the answer to that.

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I’ve struggled to feel engaged with the PL since all this kicked off. It’s reinforced what we already knew about inequality in the game and massively tainted it for me. Arsenal’s protest last week jarred in particular. It seemed like a positive response to the SL sign up, but you quickly realised that many there were effectively saying “no we don’t mind the inequality but we want to be better at it - oh and please keep the illusion of competition”. In that sense, I agree with Gary Lineker’s tweet. Sure some billionaire owners may be nicer than others and invest in renewable energy - what sweethearts! - but it doesn’t change the inequality in the game whatsoever. Arsenal getting a ‘good billionaire’ to run the club well literally only benefit them if it improves performance and a sense of entitlement to be in the top 4 every year. For everyone else, it will make the wealth inequality more obvious.

For me, it feels like the culmination of a feeling that started with Newcastle last year. As a supporter who still wants Ashley out, it staggered me how many other fans did not give a shit about the prospective new owners being guilty of awful human rights abuse. A poll showed something like 95% supporting the takeover from someone responsible for murdering a journalist, purely because it meant we might win something. And worse, the people who did oppose it were often derided for “getting on their high horse”. But then that’s the only way you can make it competitive again is by being bought by a billionaire. I dunno what I want to happen though. Just all seems a bit fucked.

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clubs having their own platform where they sell direct to fans, would be like how the internet means musicians can sell direct to their fans, but those that found it the easiest were those with the biggest fan base before the internet started

spotify worked as well as it did because it had all kinds of different music on it, a true sportify equivalent would just be an amalgamation of all the sports channels and run by all the sports together (like how the labels all ended up owning bits of spotify)

there’s absolutely no way we’re ever gonna get access to all the live sport we want for a tenner a month, the money just wouldn’t spread across all sports in a way that satisfied the owners

might get access to just your football team’s games for a tenner a month tho… which will only increase inequality further

(sorry this is all a bit jumbled)

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I hate it. I absolutely hate it. But good lord I want to buy Mbappe.

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Could be useful if Joelinton gets injured I guess

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There’s a company called Dazn been trying to do the for a while now. The were called Perform when I worked for them. I believe it’s russian money these days.

Feel like every single western billionaire who’s bought a club is on record as being “a fan of the club” because they need to do the groundwork to ingratiate themselves as an outsider and not have any drama. It’s sales patter. They’ll turn up in a fucking freshly bought scarf for a few matches and then get bored.