LeBron James becomes partner at Liverpool FC owners

By Justin Harper
Business reporter, BBC News

Published
image copyrightGetty Images

LeBron James has become a minor partner in Fenway Sports Group (FSG), the owners of Liverpool FC.

FSG announced on Tuesday the basketball legend has invested in the group, which also owns the Boston Red Sox.

James has been a part-owner of Liverpool FC since 2011 and has a 2% stake in the club, which he bought for £4.7m.

He and his business partner Maverick Carter are now taking a more active role in global sports ownership.

The pair become the first black partners at FSG after expanding their investment in the global sports group, which is valued at more than $6bn (£4.3bn), according to Forbes business magazine.

FSG is pushing ahead with ambitious expansion plans and this week also approved a $750m private investment deal with RedBird Capital Partners.

Reports suggest FSG may use the capital to buy other sports franchises as well as strengthening Liverpool FC and the Boston Red Sox baseball franchise.

James's 2% stake in Liverpool FC is now worth more than £37m, according to a recent evaluation of the club by accountancy firm KPMG.

Liverpool links

The LA Lakers star already had links with FSG, having co-produced a television show with Tom Werner, the chairman of the Red Sox and Liverpool.

Mr Werner has the second largest stake in FSG behind John Henry, the principal owner.

In 2010, FSG bought Liverpool FC in a £300m deal under its old name New England Sports Ventures.

image copyrightGetty Images

James, who was named an NBA All-Star for the 17th time this season, has spoken of owning an NBA team one day. League rules forbid this for active players.

"I believe if I wanted to, I could own a team or be part of a basketball team," James said in 2019. He is currently worth around $450m according to Forbes' estimates. He sits at number five on the highest paid athletes of 2020 list, with earnings of $88m.

Along with his mega-salary as a basketball player and lucrative sponsorship deals, James has his own production and media companies.

He is also is a partner in a health and wellness company alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger and part-owns 19 pizza franchises in Chicago and South Florida.

"LeBron James and Maverick Carter have long shown themselves to be very savvy business people and investors," said Mark Stephens, chief executive of Blackstar Capital, which works across the sports sector.

More on this story