Liverpool owner FSG has multiple sports properties in the US. With contract issues on its plate in Pittsburgh, LeBron James and Nike are offering plenty of promise.
Liverpool owner FSG has a lot on its plate right now. If you thought sounding out a potential sale of a multi-billion dollar franchise was enough to be going on with, think again.
Without even mentioning the Boston Red Sox, which recently began spring training ahead of the new season, FSG has plenty to occupy its time. From the world of hockey with the Pittsburgh Penguins to the NASCAR Cup series, which officially gets underway this weekend, there are all sorts going on. It’s a wonder John Henry can keep across it all.
It can be hard for Liverpool supporters to keep track of too, but it’s always good to know what the owners are getting up to elsewhere, and how fans of other teams are responding to FSG. That’s why we have you covered with a weekly round-up.
In this edition, we cover one of Henry’s co-owners set to take part in the Daytona 500, as well as a contract situation strangely familiar at Anfield. So without further ado, here it is: the round-up of the week that was for Fenway Sports Group.
LeBron James in new partnership
LeBron James has been in the Liverpool headlines recently for his new range of crossover merchandise with the club. He has been in more general headlines for breaking the all-time NBA points record.
That latter achievement came amid a testing season, with his LA Lakers very much at the wrong end of the Western Conference. But following an overhaul at the trade deadline, the part-owner in FSG (and former direct stakeholder in Liverpool) has given his verdict on the new-look roster.
“I feel really good about what we have brewing,” said James, via ESPN. “But it’s going to take a lot of commitment from us going down the stretch so I’m looking forward to that. I just love what we were able to pick up.”
LeBron scored 21 points in the recent win over the New Orleans Pelicans, perhaps starting to set the Lakers back on the right track. D’Angelo Russell, the biggest name among the new recruits, also posted 21 points, hinting at a promising new partnership.
Earlier this week, the ECHO also reported on LeBron’s influence on Liverpool, with Anfield insiders hinting at a ‘huge Nike plan’ involving the NBA legend, with his 200 million followers on Twitter and Instagram opening plenty of doors given the size of his brand.
LeBron is seen as a ‘focal point’ for growing Liverpool’s influence in the US market, where soccer continues to grow significantly. FSG and the Reds are perfectly placed to cash in as the interest further increases.
Liverpool.com says: Liverpool already picked a good time to launch its LeBron crossover with the breaking of the NBA points record (surely no coincidence), but FSG would no doubt like it if its part-owner could enjoy an upsurge with the Lakers. That would only serve to drive further popularity to the new range, which looks to be selling well.
Meanwhile, FSG has long been tipped with an interest in acquiring an NBA franchise of its own. These round-ups could soon spiral out of control!
Henry co-owner to race in NASCAR Cup opener
NASCAR is a complex beast for the unitiated. It encompasses multiple different ‘series’, but the most prestigious is the NASCAR Cup Series, which officially gets underway this weekend in Daytona.
The Daytona 500, as the most iconic event in the entire sport, acts as the curtain-raiser each year. FSG will enter two drivers in the event — one of whom also happens to be the co-owner of the team along with John Henry and Jack Roush.
Originally Roush Racing, the team later became Roush Fenway to acknowledge Henry’s involvement, and then renamed itself once more to RFK Racing in 2021. That was as a result of the arrival of Brad Keselowski, a former Championship winner, as a ‘Driver/Owner’.
Brad Keselowski, co-owner of NASCAR team RFK Racing alongside FSG. John Henry’s group, of course, also owns Liverpool. (Image: Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)
It’s hard not to feel for the owners, given that failure to sort extensions tends to lead to just as much outrage. Opting against giving Mohamed Salah a big-money new Liverpool deal, for instance, would have caused uproar, but the return on that investment has been questionable so far. In the end, it’s all about judging each situation on its merits, and it seems Penguins fans think this is one the owners got wrong.
At the time of writing, the two duels are yet to take place, meaning Keselowski and Buescher’s positions on the grid for the main event have not been determined. However, one forecast from analytics company Racing Insights, published on the NASCAR website, predicts that Henry’s co-owner will finish as high as 11th, with his teammate penciled in for 27th.
Liverpool.com says: It’s certainly a fun storyline from the world of FSG. Just don’t expect to see Tom Werner in goal for Liverpool any time soon. Perhaps 2.06m LeBron James, part-owner in FSG, would do a better job.
Penguins in Liverpool parallel
Since the last FSG round-up, it’s been a mixed bag for the Pittsburgh Penguins, the ice hockey team majority-owned by the Liverpool owners. It followed up an overtime win against the reigning Stanley Cup champions with a victory over the Anaheim Ducks, fell to a 6-0 embarrassment against the Los Angeles Kings, then returned to winning ways with a 3-1 win over the San Jose Sharks.
All that has left the Penguins fourth in its division, with only the top three teams guaranteed a place in the play-offs. However, as things stand, FSG’s franchise would qualify as one of the two other Eastern Conference sides with the most points.
So it’s certainly not been a terrible season so far, but there are some issues. Among them, according to supporter blog ‘Pensburgh’, is the situation of Jeff Carter.
In middling form, the veteran was handed a contract extension including ‘no movement’ and ‘no trade’ clauses. That gives the Penguins little option but to play him or else completely waste him.
Liverpool.com says: There are some potential parallels to certain contract situations FSG have overseen at Liverpool. Most notably, Jordan Henderson was handed a big new deal as he entered his autumn years, which some have argued was a mistake. The thought of him seeing it out as a regular starter is not hugely appealing, but selling him before then does not look like a realistic prospect either, even without the existence of one of the ‘no-trade’ clauses common to the NHL.