Barcelona Dragons’ Owner Jason Robinson Uses Tech To Make American Football Popular In Europe

Former Boise State football player and tech entrepreneur Jason Robinson is betting that technology can make American football popular and profitable in Europe. Robinson, who is co-owner of the Barcelona Dragons of the European League of Football, is speaking with institutional and individual investors as well as taking a page out of Hollywood star Ryan Reynolds’ playbook in his approach.

A Different Entry To Sports Ownership

“We decided that the franchise level was the best for our implementation strategy, which is taking sports technology and embedding it into the small-to-mid cap sports properties and then helping them meet the standards of some of the more famous and more popular leagues,” Robinson said. “That’s the true opportunity here, from my perspective, is how can you take you know, what I call ‘teams in the bush’ and make them visible and make them known? And Ryan Reynolds has obviously done that.”

Reynolds and fellow actor Rob McElhenney bought the Wrexham Association Football Club, which plays in EFL League Two, the fourth level of the English football league system (soccer). Reynolds and McElhenney are using their celebrity to help the ailing club while Robinson is hoping his tech background and knowledge can uncover hidden value.

Robinson comes from an American football family. He is the son of Hall of Fame high school coach E.C. Robinson. His father played for the legendary Eddie Robinson at Grambling State University, and then spent nearly 30 years as a top high school coach in Los Angeles.

Growing up around the game with a father so entrenched at the high school level and then playing at Boise gave Jason a unique perspective when looking at the game — one that he believes is similar in Barcelona with the Dragons.

“High school sports, especially in the inner city where my dad coached, you are the general manager, you are the head of recruiting, you are the X’s & O’s guy, you are the community relations person, you are the fundraiser — you’re all those things,” he said. “Really in Boise, it was tough because the challenges were very similar to what’s going on here in Barcelona with us now. The biggest and most interesting [opportunity] was out of market.”

Fútbol vs. Football

The Catalan region of Spain is fútbol crazy as F.C. Barcelona recently won Spain’s top league, La Liga. A who’s who of elite players have taken the field at Camp Nou for Barca over the years, including Lionel Messi.

But ELF’s expansion and the NFL’s insistence on playing more games every year in Europe everywhere suggests the market has an appetite for American football, despite the venues in which the ELF teams play.

The Dragons’ home games are held at Estadi Municipal Olímpic de Terrassa, the field hockey venue for the 1992 Olympics. It seats 11,500, and was renovated prior to the 2022 Women’s Field Hockey World Cup.

For comparison, Camp Nou’s capacity is 99,354.

ELF promotes itself as being a technology-first league and the takeaways from here can be used to potentially close the gap on bigger more established sports properties.

If the Dragons are successful and Jason Robinson is successful, this might be an avenue for other minority owners who don’t have the capital to break into ownership at the highest levels of sport. Bring your unique skillset to the table and show how you can provide value, you only need one person to believe.

Back to top