Ryan Reynolds invests in Formula 1
If anyone knows how to catch the attention of American sports fans with a sport considered by some to be niche, it’s Ryan Reynolds. The Canadian-born actor, who shot to fame as the star of the Deadpool franchise, has had one of the breakout shows of the recent past with his documentary series Welcome to Wrexham.
Documenting the struggles and success of Welsh side Wrexham AFC, owned by Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney, the program, broadcast on FX has been a roaring success. On the back of the team having won promotion to England’s fourth tier at the end of this season, the team are even coming to the United States to play a series of high-profile friendlies against the likes of Manchester United and Chelsea.
The Premier League teams are obviously the box office attraction in this situation, but so, too is Reynolds. His likeable personality, down-to-earth approach, and enthusiasm have been the hallmarks of his on-screen personas, and that pleasant authenticity is likewise mirrored in how he presents himself in Welcome to Wrexham.
A new road
Now, he’s banking that same energy and charm will help continue to popularize Formula 1. We’ve written in this space before about the racing circuit, which, despite being the world’s most popular, has been relatively slow to catch on in the United States. It faces strong competition from both stock car racing and Indy Car, both of whom are more a spiritual part of the country’s history than the Euro-centric Formula 1.
Today, Renault Group and Alpine announce the sale of a 24% stake in Alpine Racing Ltd to a strategic investor group.
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— BWT Alpine F1 Team (@AlpineF1Team) June 26, 2023
That said, there are slow, steady signs of growth, not the least of which have been aided by the Netflix series Drive to Survive. Given the already extant crossover appeal of both that show and Welcome to Wrexham, might Reynolds’ appeal have an outsize effect?
His Maximum Effort Investments (of which McElhenney is also a part) has also taken on the actor Michael B. Jordan in buying a 24% stake of Alpine Racing Ltd. for €200M. Also a part of the deal is RedBird Capital, who have controlling stakes in Toulouse FC and AC Milan, lending the deal the sort of commercial expertise that can be key to its success.
There’s been no indication that Reynolds will endeavor to produce another docuseries, committed as he is to a second season of Welcome to Wrexham, but armed with heavyweight financial backing and the aforementioned rising interest in F1 in the United States, he has the chance to inject some serious star power into the circuit, which still has two races left in the United States this season.
How exactly this all unspools remains to be seen, but the buzz about Reynolds’ involvement is palpable, with nearly every major media outlet covering the acquisition, to a level not seen by the circuit itself. Even at a basic level, this increased media attention can only be a good thing, and as Reynolds and the rest of his team get their feet under the table, the focus on the sport in the US seems only likely to grow.