Foreign billionaires can't get enough of the English Premier League (EPL). This week, Arsenal became the fifth EPL football club to fall under the control of a US tycoon, when Stan Kroenke increased his stake to more than 62 per cent.
The Arsenal takeover, which values the club at £731 million (Dh4.38 billion), comes just months after Liverpool changed hands and amid continuing talk, repeatedly denied, that Mr Kroenke's compatriots the Glazer brothers may sell Manchester United to the Qatari royal family.
It seems foreign owners, and Americans in particular, love the EPL, even with its badly behaving, overpaid players who never quite seem to live up to expectations or their pay packets. Besides Arsenal and Manchester United, Liverpool, Aston Villa and Sunderland have American owners. So what is the attraction of the football business to people who have barely kicked a round ball, let alone argued over the attractions of 4-4-2? As we saw from the recent competition to host the 2018 and 2022 Fifa World Cup finals, football has genuine global appeal.
In contrast, American sports fail the export test.
Arsenal is London's biggest club, with core football revenues of £224m in 2009, according to Deloitte's report this year on Europe's most financially successful clubs. As well as broadcast and commercial revenues, the club brings in £3.5m every time it plays at home in its 60,000-seat stadium.
The EPL as a whole is an extremely attractive proposition to investors, primarily because of its lucrative TV rights. Seven of Deloitte's 20 richest European clubs are EPL stalwarts.
Television has transformed football finances, providing a direct revenue stream, worldwide exposure and a channel to drive other revenue streams such as sales of replica kits.
Clubs in the EPL will have shared £2.7bn from TV rights between last year and 2013, giving the 20 clubs in the league an average income of £40m a year from matches. And each of the three leading clubs - Manchester United, Chelsea and Arsenal - generates more than £88m from broadcasting.
But football is by no means a path to easy riches. Take England's most successful club, Manchester United. Its owners recently issued a £500m-plus bond to restructure the club's finances, while Liverpool is also heavily indebted.
One EPL club, Portsmouth, went into administration last year, and three clubs in lower divisions are not paying players or staff because they cannot afford the wages. In the lower echelons of the English game, the taxman has dragged clubs into the insolvency court, and few of England's 92 clubs have avoided the falls in attendance and merchandising sales you would expect in a recession.
There is a fundamental weakness in the finances of English football: the astronomical wages paid to even average players. Coupled with unsustainably high ticket prices that make attending a match regularly out of reach for most families, many clubs are in financial straits despite the amount of money in the game.
But things are set to change. From 2013, UEFA, the governing body of football in Europe, is to bring in what is known as "financial fair play". Simply, this means that clubs in Europe should not spend more than their income.
The new rules, proposed by the UEFA president Michel Platini, are a way of smoothing out the inequalities of big-club football while forcing clubs to make long-term investments over short-term speculative spending. Arsenal is one of the clubs Mr Platini has singled out for its admirable financial behaviour.
Four years ago, when Mr Kroenke first turned up at Arsenal, Peter Hill-Wood, the club chairman, said: "Americans are buying up chunks of the premiership football clubs and not because of their love of football, but because they see an opportunity to make money."
Mr Hill-Wood has now changed his tune, calling Mr Kroenke a "safe custodian" of the club who values and respects its history and traditions.
Arsenal fans looking for a dollar-fuelled rush for silverware will be disappointed. Mr Kroenke is playing it safe. He is not buying the club with debt and there will be no Manchester City-style spending spree in pursuit of a trophy.
Where the financial fair-play rules may constrain the likes of Roman Abramovich, who owns Chelsea Football Club, they are familiar to US owners who share revenues across leagues in many US sports.
Mr Kroenke's interest in Arsenal lies, most probably, in the potential to raise revenues in Asia and perhaps the possibility of creating a global league.
A lucrative pre-season tournament, stateside, for the five clubs now under American ownership surely beckons this summer.