Links between music and sport run deep, from Janet Jackson nipple-slips at the Super Bowl to Robbie Williams squeezing into a kit for a charity kickabout. Here are 20 artists who’ve got a little more seriously involved, starting with The Black Keys, sponsors of a Little League (that’s kids playing baseball) team in Akron, Ohio.
Snoop Dogg likes to shoot the odd hoop in the NBA Entertainment League but he also kickstarted a youth football league in California, where teams compete for the Snooper Bowl. You heard.
UK metal legends Iron Maiden have a sporting pedigree that belies their greaser image, with guitarist Steve Harris a former West Ham triallist with a full-sized football pitch in his back garden and singer Bruce Dickinson a fencer of some renown. At one stage Dickinson’s swordsmanship saw him ranked 7th in the entire country.
Rod Stewart‘s football prowess extends further than booting balls into the crowd at every gig. He’s a big fan of Celtic – who have been known to play on the pitch at Rod’s Essex estate – and once signed an apprentice contract with Brentford FC.
Boyd Tinsley, violinist with The Dave Matthews Band (massive in the States), has hosted the annual Boyd Tinsley USTA Women’s Championships – that’s tennis – in his hometown of Charlottesville since 2003.
Who’d have guessed it? Coldplay have their own official cricket team, after Gloucester County League club Slaughters United wrote to bassist Guy Berryman looking for a quick sub. The band obliged, sending a few hundred quid for their trouble.
Alt.country godfathers Wilco are mad for the whole sport sponsorship thing, putting their weight behind two Little League (yep, kids baseball) teams – The Royals in Chicago and TMM/Wilco in Northampton, Massachusetts.
Richard Proctor, coach of Rhiwbina under-10s rugby team in Cardiff, does a bit of artwork for Def Leppard so managed to persuade the poodle-haired Sheffield rockers to sponsor his team and put their logo on the pretty cool – at least in 1987 – shirts.
They couldn’t quite stump up the cash for full league sponsorship but in 1999 Super Furry Animals got their name emblazoned on Cardiff City FC shirts after inking a five-figure deal to sponsor the team in their FAW Cup challenge.
Welsh rap crew Goldie Lookin’ Chain went all out when they had the chance to sponsor Newport County AFC’s kit for their FAW Cup campaign. They not only slapped their logo on the shirts but a printed gold chain too. Classy.
Kaiser Chiefs felt a certain obligation to South Africa’s Kaizer Chiefs football team, whose name they nabbed. When former Chelsea striker Tore Andre Flo signed for the team back in 2007, the Leeds band sponsored him as a gesture of goodwill.
Sir Elton John has, of course, had a long association with Watford Football Club. He became chairman of the club in 1976, presiding over the vertiginous rise through the league that eventually saw them finishing second in the top division in 1983. He’s now Honorary Life President.
Former Take That singer (and, indeed, former Take That singer) Robbie Williams has been generous towards his beloved Port Vale. In 2006, he became majority shareholder of the football club after ploughing in 240 grand of his own cash.
No one quite knows what the blazes was going on in 2002 when Michael Jackson – aided by his pal, um, Uri Geller – became an honorary director of Exeter City FC, but there it is. Magician David Blaine turned up to the big day and Jacko announced, “We come here to support children with Aids”. So, again, there it is.
Jay Z has a minority share in NBA side Brooklyn Nets, who used to be New Jersey Nets until they moved to the Hov’s old neighbourhood, possibly at the great man’s behest.
Whatever Jay Z does, Justin Timberlake does too. The former ‘N Sync warbler turned solo artist turned actor turned solo artist is a minority owner of his hometown’s NBA team Memphis Grizzlies.
Jon Bon Jovi chucked his considerable commercial weight into the AFL (Arena Football League) scene in 2004 when he became majority owner of Philadelphia Soul. He’s now relinquished his share.
Away from all the American sporting nonsense, Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason has rather more stylish interests, owning 30-plus vintage cars and driving in the Le Mans 24-hour race five times.
OK, one more NBA shout, this time for Usher. The R&B dude is part-owner of Cleveland Cavaliers and fancies himself a bit of a player too. He’s been known to turn out in his kit for the Midsummer Night’s Dream Celebrity Basketball Game. You know the one, right?