Pending an approval from Major League Baseball, LeBron James will become part owner of the Boston Red Sox. This week, the NBA superstar became a partner with Fenway Sports Group, per the Boston Globe. The move makes James and Maverick Carter the first Black partners in FSG’s history and also increases James’ ownership stake in Premier League soccer club Liverpool.
It’s s a huge deal that an active professional athlete is getting involved in the ownership class to the degree that LeBron James is. There are a lot of moving parts around this deal that will raise a lot of questions, and we’re here to break down some of those, or at least address them. Here are some things to know about this partnership between LeBron and Fenway.
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Didn’t LeBron already own a portion of Liverpool?
He did. James owned a two percent share of the soccer club that he purchased in 2011, to be exact. His share in the club now increases, however, as a result of owning “an undisclosed amount of FSG shares,” according to Michael Silverman of the Boston Globe — who first broke the news. This will naturally increase in value as a result of this $750 million private investment into the ownership group from RedBird Capital Partners.
What does this mean for the Red Sox?
Perhaps the funniest, or most ironic, outcome of this whole purchase is the fact that LeBron James is now a part owner of the Boston Red Sox “as well as other FSG subsidiaries.” These include NESN, Roush Fenway Racing, and Fenway Sports Management. The irony, of course, comes in the average Boston sports fan’s disdain for James as a result of what he has done against the Celtics on the hardwood. It’s also ironic that James himself has openly cheered for the Yankees, the Red Sox’s biggest rival.
Anyway, on to whether this means anything for the Red Sox. It’s unclear how involved James and Carter will be at the ownership level. The Red Sox, however, have been part of a league-wide trend that involves decimating your roster in the name of cutting payroll. The Red Sox in 2019, two years after having one of the best seasons in baseball history and winning a title, decided to tear everything down and start a rebuild that began with trading away Mookie Betts. This influx in cash might make it more difficult for ownership to cry poor during free agency.
Who’s joining LeBron in this venture?
Joining James will be his longtime friend and business partner Maverick Carter, one of the main figureheads in the empire the Lakers star has built throughout his career off the court. Carter will also be an FSG partner and Red Sox co-owner.
What is RedBird Capital Partners?
RedBird, which made the $750 million investment with FSG, is a private investment firm that filed paperwork within the last year with the Securities and Exchange Commission to try and be listed on the New York Stock Exchange to raise money to purchase a special purpose acquisition company, or SPAC. In a statement released after that was all filed, the organization said “it intends to focus on businesses in the sports, media and data analytics sectors, with a focus on professional sports franchises,” which leads us to the purchase that happened today. RedBird has other sports-adjacent assets in its portfolio such as the New York Yankees’ YES Network. Additionally, the firm is run by Gerry Cardinale, an ex-Goldman Sachs executive who helped form Legends hospitality with the Yankees and Dallas Cowboys. Prior to this blockbuster purchase, they bought 85% of French soccer club Toulouse FC.