Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is joining Fenway Sports Group as a partner, giving him an ownership stake in its subsidiaries that include the Boston Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, Roush Fenway Racing and the regional sports network NESN, sources told ESPN.
James, 36, already owned 2% of Liverpool, the current English Premier League champion. In joining FSG and expanding his investment, James and his business partner Maverick Carter will become the company's first Black partners.
FSG is among the largest sports ownership entities in the world, and James' involvement will only increase its reach. In addition to James coming onboard, FSG received a $750 million investment from RedBird Capital Partners, according to The Boston Globe, which first reported James' ownership stake.
With league rules preventing current players from owning portions of the NBA or WNBA, James, who has earned more than $1 billion in his career, according to Forbes, branched out with a conglomerate that started by owning the Red Sox. FSG's broad footprint could expand even more with the infusion of cash from RedBird Capital.
FSG bought Liverpool in 2010 for $493 million -- and James joined in the investment for a reported $6.5 million. FSG turned down a $2.6 billion bid for the team in August 2018, leaving James with tens of millions in profit from his initial investment.
James has not been shy about his desire to own an NBA team. At the NBA All-Star Game in 2019, he told reporters that upon his retirement, "I believe if I wanted to, I could own a team or be part of a basketball team. I know I got so much knowledge of the game that I don't want to, once I stop playing -- I just [do not] want to get away from the game."
In January, when the WNBA's Atlanta Dream were put up for sale, James tweeted: "Think I'm gone put together an ownership group for The Dream." He proceeded to help Renee Montgomery, the former WNBA player and activist, meet with commissioner Cathy Engelbert before she joined with two partners to complete the purchase.
With the Red Sox, James gets limited partnership in one of Major League Baseball's jewel franchises. The team's estimated value is more than $3 billion, and while it's expected to lag behind in the competitive American League East division this season, Boston has significantly improved its farm system and should increase its payroll going into the 2022 season after paring back spending the past two years.
James' connection to FSG goes deeper than his investment in Liverpool. Among the executive producers of the comedy "Survivor's Remorse," which aired for four seasons on Starz: James, Carter and Tom Werner, the longtime television producer and chairman of the Red Sox and Liverpool. Werner owns the second-largest stake in FSG behind principal owner John Henry.
Before I get too worked up about a team that I currently despise, I understand that we don't know how much of a stake in the Red Sox Lebron James actually has. He could be a part-owner of the Red Sox in the same sense that a dude who owns 20 Packers shares is a Packers part-owner. I highly doubt this move gives him like 15% of the club, and he's going to have legitimate input in which homegrown superstar the Red Sox will ship away next for pennies on the dollar, but from an optics perspective, this is an awful move for a franchise that has alienated its fans.
I know the Red Sox ownership group does not care about the fans whatsoever. It's like they take pride in it. They'll wait a week to call a game because of rain and would be completely fine with 37,000 tourists filling up Fenway Park every night. After all that's more people to sell merch to!
Clearly, they don't know or care about the team's history by following the blueprint of the most famous curse in sports history to a T, but you'd think even to them somethings would be sacred. You'd think the Boston Red Sox wouldn't do business with Yankee fans, but clearly, that doesn't matter. I guess why do business with just any Yankee Fan? You could find one of them anywhere. If you're going to do this, you might as well pick the most famous bandwagon Yankee fan in America and one of Boston sports most hated rivals, Lebron James. You'd think the Boston PRed Sox would care about something like that, but they do not care about the people who spend their hard-earned money on tickets, concessions, and memorabilia. They fake support the other Boston teams like Regina George. John Henry HATES Robert Kraft because fans actually like him.
FTR, I haven't fucked with Red Sox ownership long before the Mookie Betts trade.
I've been contemplating writing a blog about my current status as a Red Sox fan with baseball returning soon. Am I going too far? Is standing up for what I believe in worth abandoning two decades of fandom and knowledge? Because I know I am 100% cutting off my nose to spite my face from a hireability standpoint with Barstool by ditching baseball, but for the sake of my mental health, I have to step away and avoid it entirely.
FUCK John Henry for saying that Yawkey Way kept him up at night. That's a bigger lie than Amazon caring about their employee's wellbeing. I genuinely was kept up at night thinking about how the BOSTON RED SOX could justify trading away Mookie Betts. I've lost hours of sleep and gained countless pounds coping with this reality.
Obviously, my current stance on the Red Sox is a great example of a lesson our friends, The Persuaders, taught us about the thin line between love and hate.
I was one of the most passionate Red Sox fans I knew before the Mookie trade. I tried to get people around my age more excited about baseball. I'd even call myself an ambassador of the game. I put up with all the bullshit, knowing that at least the ownership spent money on talent. Hell, they even spent on guys who hadn't played baseball in two years. They were billionaires writing checks that they would even notice were gone, but the Mookie trade ruined it all for me. I understand some people might not care, but they are the fucking problem. You should care. The Red Sox ownership group wants to buy more teams. That should piss you the fuck off. More distractions to focus on instead of the Sox, perfect!
Yes, this ownership has brought Boston four World Series Titles, but most of the 04 team was here before 2002, and Henry, Werner, and Lucchino were actually motivated to win back then. They aren't anymore. They got their rings; the cash keeps coming in. They just see Fenway Park and the Red Sox fans that are too stupid to fight back as dollar signs.
John Henry and Tom Werner can tell you they care about this team winning, but they don't. How can you say that with a straight face when you underbid Mookie Betts? They aren't from Boston; they have no real allegiance to this area and no longer feel the need to put the best product on the field. Now they're bringing in enemies to the Commonwealth to help run things.
I really wish I could care again. There's nothing better than going to Fenway Park. Maybe I'll change my tune once life goes back to "normal" I used to care way too much, but Mookie Betts' trading did irreconcilable damage to my fandom, that I'm pretty sure is saying the same point 17 different ways in this blog. The Mookie trade made me fall out of love with not just the Red Sox but baseball in general. I've tried to watch non-Red Sox games, but I cannot stop thinking about how the Red Sox chose to avoid the luxury tax instead of paying the best player to wear their uniform who is currently not enshrined in Cooperstown.
I cannot spend my money supporting a team that has an owner with no soul or brain. There is no point in rooting for a team that had Mookie Betts and choose to trade him for much less than he's worth because they fucked up the books so badly by using the wrong free agents to put band-aids on bullet holes. Fuck, this is supposed to be about Lebron! I'm sure he'll be super invested in making the Red Sox competitive!!