The Sun reported Tuesday that Johnson’s bid of 2 billion pounds ($2.62 billion) is less than that of the Saudi Media Group, which they reported was 2.7 billion pounds ($3.54 billion). There is a Friday deadline for bids.
Johnson served as the United States Ambassador to the United Kingdom under President Donald Trump from 2017-21. Those strong ties to London could help him in his bid.
“What Chelsea need right now is longevity and stability when it comes to a new owner. Woody and his team think they can provide that,” a source told The Sun. “He’s run the Jets successfully and knows a huge amount about the sports industry. And he’s spent the last four years in London and knows it well.”
Johnson faces significant competition for the team from the Saudi Media Group and a group led by Nick Candy, a property developer. The Ricketts family, which owns the Cubs, announced they are leading an investment group that will make a formal bid for the team on Friday.
The team is currently owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich. He was forced to sell after being sanctioned by the British government and banned by the Premier League following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The British government has oversight of the sale.
The Sun reported that Johnson has told people that one of his strengths would be bringing commercial partners to Chelsea.
A source was quoted by The Sun saying: “Woody knows running a sports club means you must have deep pockets, and big commercial deals help with that. It also means Chelsea can continue to compete at the top of the game and dominate the transfer market.”
Johnson would become the fourth NFL owner to also own an English Premier League team. Rams owner Stan Kroenke owns Arsenal, the Glazer family owns both the Buccaneers and Manchester United and 49ers owner Jed York has a minority stake in Leeds United.
The Jets and Johnson have been trying to build their brand in the UK. They were awarded international marketing rights to the UK by the NFL in December. There likely would be some kind of synergy between the Jets and Chelsea if Johnson’s bid is successful.
The Jets have played in London twice, including in October, and are expected to play there every few years as the NFL tries to expand its international games.
Johnson returned to everyday ownership of the Jets in 2021 after his ambassadorship ended. His brother, Christopher, oversaw the team while he was overseas. Johnson has owned the Jets since 2000.