Get the latest market trends in your inbox

Stay on top of the latest market trends and economic insights with the Axios Markets newsletter. Sign up for free.

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Denver news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Denver

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Des Moines news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Des Moines

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Minneapolis-St. Paul news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Minneapolis-St. Paul

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Tampa-St. Petersburg news in your inbox

Catch up on the most important stories affecting your hometown with Axios Tampa-St. Petersburg

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Please enter a valid email.

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Actors Ryan Reynolds and Rob McElhenney have teamed up to acquire fifth-division English soccer team, Wrexham AFC, one of the oldest clubs in the world.

Why it matters: The two actors have promised to invest at least $2.64 million and plan to use their own stardom — plus a documentary series — to promote the club globally and hopefully take it to new heights.

The big picture: Reynolds and McElhenney appear to be banking on the growing demand for soccer content. In recent years, Netflix and Amazon have produced a wide range of documentary series about European clubs, including:

The intrigue: These "Hard Knocks"-style shows could work for any sport, but soccer's global appeal makes them particularly attractive to streaming platforms with both American and international versions/audiences.

  • European soccer's system of promotion/relegation also provides a unique backdrop, with the possibility of moving up (or down) a division adding immediate drama to any story.
  • In the case of Reynolds and McElhenney, who's best known for "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," their purchase of Wrexham is literally a movie plot.
  • They might not get their Hollywood ending by advancing to the Premier League (Wrexham hasn't been higher than the third tier this century), but the fact that such a rise is even possible instantly makes the club more intriguing.

By the numbers: Wrexham generates between $1.98 million and $4.22 million in annual revenue, per club director Spencer Harris. If done right, a documentary series alone could generate a similar amount.

  • And Reynolds, alone, has more combined Instagram and Twitter followers (53.3 million) than Liverpool (44.5 million), last year's Premier League champs.

The bottom line: It's not always sunny in Wales (in fact, it rains a lot). But Monday was a thrilling day to be a Wrexham AFC fan. Next up: Hire Ted Lasso.

Go deeper

20 mins ago - Health

U.S. exceeds 100,000 COVID-related hospitalizations for the first time

People wait outside the Emergency room of the Garfield Medical Center in Monterey Park, California on Dec 1. Photo: Frederic J. Brown/Getty Images

More than 100,200 Americans were hospitalized as of Wednesday due to the coronavirus for the first time since the outbreak began in early 2020, per the COVID Tracking Project.

The big picture: The milestone comes as health officials anticipated cases to surge due to holiday travel and gatherings. The impact of the holiday remains notable, as many states across the country are only reporting partial data.

4 hours ago - Science

The "war on nature"

A resident stands on his roof as the Blue Ridge Fire burned back in October in Chino Hills, Calif. Photo: Jae C. Hong/AP

Apocalyptic weather is the new normal because humans are "waging war on nature," the UN declared on Wednesday.

What they're saying: "The state of the planet is broken," said UN Secretary-General António Guterres, reports AP. “This is suicidal.”

Updated 5 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Health: Nursing homes are still getting pummeledU.S. could hit herd immunity by end of summer 2021 if Americans embrace virus vaccines, Fauci says.
  2. Politics: Pelosi, Schumer call on McConnell to adopt bipartisan $900B stimulus framework.
  3. World: U.K. clears Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for mass rollout — Putin says Russia will begin large-scale vaccination next week.
  4. Business: Investors are finally starting to take their money out of safe-haven Treasuries.
  5. Sports: The end of COVID’s grip on sports may be in sight.