LeBron James Is Set To Take On a Larger Role Within The Ownership Group Of Liverpool Football Club.
The NBA icon has been hugely complimentary of the club in the past The Los Angeles Lakers megastar is already a minority shareholder in the Premier League champions, and is set to improve his stake. James has held shares in the club since 2011, but will now become a part-owner of Major League Baseball franchise the Boston Red Sox. Reports suggest James and his business partner Maverick Carter will become the first black partners in FSG’s history.
FSG have approved a £540million private investment bid from RedBird Capital Partners, which will make them their third-largest partner and increase their spending power. James has acted as an ambassador for Liverpool at times in the past, and has often arrived to games dressed in replica shirts. When Liverpool partnered with Nike last year, he sent close friends personalised shirts with a letter detailing his passion for the club. James, dubbed ‘The King’, heaped praise on the newly-crowned Premier League champions and detailed his hopes for the future.
“Nine years ago, I went to my first game at Anfield,” the letter read.
“I’ll never forget the feeling of walking through the Shankly Gates, the atmosphere and the fans. It was an adrenaline rush and one of the greatest experiences I’ve had watching sports.
“Liverpool FC is admired across the world and I’ve learned first-hand that it’s the people who make the community special.
“Family and community are truly at the heart of everything they do. No matter where they are.
“It’s the Liverpool way. They are a family.
“And having been part of the Nike family for over 18 years, I know how important that is to all of us.
“Today, I am excited to invite you to celebrate another moment of greatness in their journey – the partnership of Nike and Liverpool FC.
“You’re one of the first to receive the kit that honours the team and this new chapter.
“Join me in officially welcoming Liverpool FC to the Nike family. ‘By far the greatest team, the world has ever seen…'”
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.
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.