NBA star LeBron James, who already had a stake in the Fenway Sports Group’s Liverpool soccer club, has become part-owner of the company’s marquee asset: the Boston Red Sox.
The Boston Globe first reported the news, which was then confirmed by ESPN. James, a regular on social media, has not yet weighed in. Just prior to the Globe report today, though, he tweeted about New England sports, noting a spree of free agency moves by Patriots head coach Bill Belichick.
Along with the teams, Fenway also controls 80% of the New England Sports Network, which broadcasts Red Sox games along with a range of other college and pro sports.
As a part of the deal, the Red Sox are also getting $750 million in fresh backing from RedBird Capital, giving it a stake of more than 11%. The firm has made numerous moves in the sports and entertainment sectors lately, investing in Skydance and the YES network and teaming with Dwayne Johnson and Dany Garcia to acquire the XFL.
James and longtime partner Maverick Carter, who is part of the investment, will become the first Black owners of the team, which was founded in 1901. Boston was the last Major League Baseball team to integrate, in 1959. MLB owners have to approve the newly configured investment group in order for it to take effect.
By putting in an undisclosed amount of money, James and Carter will also have a piece of other Fenway subsidiaries, the Globe said. The portfolio includes NESN, NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing and Fenway Sports Management.
James, a native of Northeast Ohio, has rooted for his home state Cleveland Indians but has also shown up in Yankee Stadium wearing the gear of Boston’s archrival. Even before signing with the LA Lakers in 2018, he has also donned a Dodgers cap to attend home games in Chavez Ravine.
2011, James acquired 2% stake of Liverpool FC, a Premier League team. According to the Globe, his investment grew from $6.5 million to $44 million over the intervening decade. MLB franchises, despite a host of ups and downs for baseball, have seen their value steadily increase over the years. Known as one of baseball’s “lovable losers” during an 86-year World Series drought, the Red Sox finally won a championship in 2004. In the years since, they have been one of the sport’s winningest teams.
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