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Franchise actors and their franchise teams

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It can be challenging supporting a franchise, something sports fans in the UK might not always realise.

Sports fans are often drawn to their local team in the US, but what if that team ups and moves? It happens regularly, with plenty of teams swapping one city for another, the Raiders being the most recent example. There’s little doubt, supporting a franchise can be a daunting affair, and one wonders if Ice T or Tiger Woods followed the Raiders from Oakland after their recent move? One of their other celebrity fans certainly didn’t; Tom Hanks made it clear to CBS he was stepping away for NFL in the wake of their move.

That’s another huge part of US sports; there are so many global celebrities in the US and few teams to support. We all see big Hollywood movies or listen to stadium-filling bands, and often the stars are from the US. Those stars are often well-known for their love of their team or franchise, yet even the famous faces might have a big choice to make.

Here are four stars, each connected to a franchise in their professional life, who could one day be forced to chose to either follow their franchise or not.

Paul Rudd – Kansas City Royals

Paul Rudd is one of those actors who has appeared in everything but has not become synonymous with any one film. Some might remember him as Phoebe’s boyfriend in Friends, others as a bit-part player in Will Ferrell’s Anchorman.

Paul Rudd
Arturo Pardavila III from Hoboken, NJ, USA, Paul Rudd on MLB Network (22211656364), CC BY 2.0

Perhaps his association with the Marvel franchise is what many know him for, but even then, he plays the lesser-known Ant-Man hero rather than a headliner. At least his sports team have had something to shout about in recent years with the Kansas City Royals winning the World Series in 2015.

Chris Hemsworth – Pittsburgh Steelers

If Rudd is a bit-part Marvel Hero, then Hemsworth is not just known for the character he plays; he is defined by it. He is Thor, the star of more than seven Marvel films. His character is so well-known in pop culture that Hemsworth has become famous by association, and not just on the big screen. Thor features in video games and digital media, such as Injustice: Gods Among Us as the Marvel character and Assassin’s Creed Valhalla as an NPC. Even on mobile, Thor has a presence, featuring on Gala Spins titles such as 2 Gods Zeus v Thor and Thor Infinity Reels.

Chris Hemsworth
Gage Skidmore, Chris Hemsworth by Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 3.0

It’s fair to say Thor is everywhere, and not long back, he was even at a Pittsburgh Steelers game, nailing his colours to the mast. He’s known as a fan of the AFL, Aussie football, but as he’s a star of films and games, he’s more likely to be seen at a US game these days.

Jack Nicholson – Los Angeles Lakers

Jack Nicholson has played a character known the world over – The Joker in Batman.

Jack Nicholson
Georges Biard, Jack Nicholson 2002, CC BY-SA 3.0

However, Nicholson’s appeal is probably bigger than the character, despite the Joker appearing in more video games and films than Thor over the years.


Nicholson is one of those actors who transcends a singular role, a Hollywood great who helped shaped the character, not the other way around. He is also a big LA Lakers fan, and even at the age of 82, he can still be found attending games.

Dwayne Johnson – Florida Panthers

Finally, we come to another type of actor, one who leveraged a role to become famous. Known as The Rock during his stint with WWE, Dwayne Johnson is now better known as an actor with films such as Jumanji behind him.

The Rock
Mandy Coombes, Intercontinental Champion THE ROCK, CC BY-SA 2.0

It’s likely The Rock appeared in more video games than Thor, and the Joker put together, and it was Johnson’s imagery they used that helped make him the recognisable star he is today. He’s a keen Florida Panthers fan and has often been found in amusing Twitter exchanges with the team’s mascot.

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