Red Bull as we all know as a popular energy drink is also a big corporation owning a number of sports teams being involved in a variety of activities and in that fold you find four football teams on three different continents.
The Red Bull company’s first football club capture was Austria SV Salzburg. Red Bull renamed the club to what we know today as Red Bull Salzburg, something that of course made a lot of noise and even resulted in a new foundation, starting up Austria SV Salzburg as a different club. Since becoming Red Bull in 2005, they have also renamed their home stadium, to Red Bull Arena. The stadium was used in the 2008 UEFA Cup but then being named with their original name Stadion Wals-Siezenheim.
Their current manager is american Jesse March. A coach that is part of the brand so to say, after being in charge of their other franchises in New York and assisting at a third in Leipzig before this summer taking over as head coach at Salzburg. He is a well known coach in the USA not only with New York Red Bulls, but also being at two other major teams DC United and Chicago Fire. His start to life at Salzburg has been very impressive with nine wins in nine games and bringing in big and strong Erling Braut Haaland into the team, which has shown as a genius act. The club has dominated in Austria and since the takeover won the league 10 times and latest in 2018/19.
Their squad of players tends to be of many nationalities and that might be a marketing strategy, but believe it’s not, but to have a players only from Austria looks as no ambition at all with only six of their current first team squad being home grown. They have also, despite being champions almost every season often changed their manager, with those drawing attention from other clubs, with former man in charge Marco Rose joining Borussia Monchengladbach this summer doing well being snapped up from, a fun fact is that Rose used to play his football under Jurgen Klopp both being at Mainz at the same time.
The second club to find their name changed and bought up by Red Bull was US based New York Metro Stars. Red Bull bought the MLS club in 2006. The club also play their home games at “The Red Bull Arena”, a 25.000 seater stadium opened in 2010, relocating from Giant Stadium were they previously played. The club has never won the MLS, but been Champions after the league play (European style), and for that received the Supporters Shield three times.
They have earlier been a club able to attract interest from Europe and in the present team a young Josh Sims is currently on loan from Southampton. Star names such as Thierry Henry, Juan Pablo Angel and Adolfo Valencia are former top scorers at the club.
One of their best players ever is Bradley Wright-Phillips. who joined from Charlton Athletic in 2013 and since scored 108 goals in 180 MLS appearances. He was a talented player in England, but in MLS he is a superstar. The now 34 year has in his earlier days played for Manchester City, Southampton and Plymouth Argyle.
The third big addition wasn’t really very big, it was a fifth tier team in German football, SSV Markenstädt, renamed to the creative name Rasenballsport Leipzig e.V., commonly known as RB Leipzig and in common language just Red Bull Leipzig. The club is a phenomena in Germany, rising from no where and into the top flight of German football challenging the top teams Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munchen almost straight away. Currently their are as Salzburg in Austria, gone top of the league.
They have not gone out and bought up the entire Bundesliga but attracted young talents to join and with a very special coaching staff and personal, such as Jesse March, build a blueprint and a philosophy that makes young talent coming through with the brightest examples to see, Timo Werner, Yussuf Paulsen, and Hungarian international Willi Orban being part of that backbone of the RB Leipzig, others also to mention is Lukas Klostermann and Marcel Halstenberger, together with midfielder Emil Forsberg joining from Malmo in 2015.
Two British players are also at the moment in the RB Leipzig squad, talented youngsters Ademola Lookman, signed from Everton, and Ethan Ambadu, on loan from Chelsea. There might not be much local talent around, but that has been addressed with a academy structure to be build in a long term perspective. The young up and coming Hoffenheim coach Julian Nagelsmann, only 32, became the new coach of RB Leipzig this summer and so far it looks as a great appointment.
The fourth club under the umbrella is based in Brazil in the city of Sao Paulo, and are at the moment going through a transmission looking to merge with Bragantino, a club founded as far back as 1928. The team this season will be seen as Bragantino but by next season the RB will be in front of the original name. The squad of players are only Brazilian and the team is currently competing at the 2nd level. The Brazilian project has probably stalled a bit and the progression has not been in the same speed as we could see at Leipzig, which is an act of fantasy and almost impossible to achieve in so short time.
Looking at the processes in places were you have before never seen a lot of football glory, you start to wonder a bit what type of mission the Red Bull company is on, and why they just try to expand and build up good and entertaining football clubs all over the World. What they have done might be controversial but at the same time very impressive because they are in line with tradition of football and from a player and coaching point of view more in balance with the sport. Bringing forward talent from lower leagues and climbing ladders by clever coaching and bringing in the new and brightest talents in the game.
The New York team is probably a bit different, at times bringing in greats of the game and probably to do with the type of league MLS is, and Americans who wants a more entertaining package and at the same time competing in a country were the best athletic talents might start playing in other sports such as American football, baseball and ice-hockey.
Looking at the games played and the massive support the Red Bull clubs get, you start to think that people must see this as a good thing, and by adding that to your local area can’t be all that bad.
Some fans, and of course other football clubs might not like the approach, but all in all it looks as a healthy and good plan for nursing forward great talent and bring the game in the right direction, with “giants” shown that they cannot sleep, but all in all would be interesting to know if Red Bull do all this just to sell more energy drinks, which in a way makes it all strange and a wild idea that long term will probably see it end and the clubs sold or being demolished.
But we could be lucky and see all of these clubs land somewhere and become a bit like PSV Eindhoven, closely connected to Phillips. PSV play their home games at Phillips Arena and are still closely connected to the company, but in footballing life not being so closely connected as the Red Bull name has probably been seen.
To the favor of Phillips, the team PSV was founded by workers of the company but not in tradition build on the idea to bring forward the company name, but their close connections made it at some time difficult, in the same way as Red Bull, to be accepted as a football club as they were seen as a company team.
The PSV team are often seen with a Phillips logo on their front, but this season they will be sponsored by Brainport Eindhoven, a project largely sponsored by Phillips, so they are well connected and if that is for the good of football as it has in the last 100 years for this partnership, not really bothered much about Red Bull making the same attempt in this time of living.