Fenway Sports Group LLC is in negotiations with special purpose acquisition company RedBall Acquisition Corp that would eventually see Fenway Sports (owners of the Red Sox and Liverpool FC of the Premier League) go public, Cara Lombardo and Miriam Gottfried of the Wall Street Journal report.
The proposed merger would eventually see Fenway Sports valued at $8 billion (including debt) after going public. RedBall would spend roughly $1.575 billion to become minority partners in this overall enterprise, with Red Sox owner John Henry and his Fenway Sports Group partners retaining majority control.
As Lombardo and Gottfried put it, “the talks are in the early innings and could still fall apart,” so it could still be some time before we see any concrete news. And, it could be that the biggest impact takes place on the soccer front rather than the baseball front, as Lombardo and Gottfried hear that a Fenway Sports/RedBall partnership could look to buy more soccer clubs around Europe. RedBall are already the majority owners of Toulouse FC, buying the French team last July.
Perhaps the most intriguing baseball-related aspect of this deal is that longtime Athletics executive Billy Beane is RedBall’s co-chair. (A’s minority owner Lew Wolff is also on the board.) The other co-chair, Gerry Cardinale, also has some significant MLB ties, as Cardinale sits on the Yankees’ board and was involved in the development of the YES Network — Cardinale’s private equity firm, RedBird Capital, still owns a minority share of YES.
Should the Fenway Sports/RedBall venture go forward, it’s hard to imagine Beane would continue to remain with the A’s if he is that heavily involved in the ownership group of a rival team’s parent company. Following the 2018 season, Beane signed a contract extension of unknown length to remain as the Athletics’ executive VP of baseball operations. Beane also has a four percent ownership stake in the A’s, as per an earlier contract extension from back in 2005.
That would be awesome go for it .
It’ll end up being worse.. This ownership group doesn’t concern themselves with true Sox fans like they used to, its going to get worse for true fans. Mark my words, more decision makers in the middle of it all isn’t going to help the team win – we don’t need any more financial middlemen involved – it’ll bring more bureaucracy and more gentrification which only pushes the normal fan out in lieu of fans w/real money.
everybody knew it was coming
Fever Pitch Guy
As someone who has made a good amount of money on various SPAC’s this year, I say bring it on! However I wouldn’t want Beane making any player personnel decisions, he’s way overrated with quite a poor track record.
I don’t think that’s a fair assessment considering the A’s owner is the cheapest in all of baseball. Beane has done very well considering they are spending 1/3 of the highest payrolls and still competing.
Explain to me Beanes poor track record? He basically changed the way front offices around the league so business. He has put consistent quality teams on the field with a shoestring budget. Do you know how difficult it is to stay relevant when you are constantly flipping your top players before they reach free agency? Being competitive they don’t get to pick high in the draft and have to find value in their picks and have to be able to evaluate other teams young players when trading away from their MLB roster to keep the future in tact. I’m sure you think because he hasn’t won a WS he’s a failure but the one time he went for it and fell short it set them back. If they keep consistently going to the playoffs one of these seasons will be there’s. John Henry even tried to hire Beane because he was so far ahead of the curve. Other teams have copied at least some of his innovations but he’s proven to still be top notch. Imagine him mixing what he’s done in Oakland with the ability to sign a core player or two or fill needs in FA like other teams have the luxury of doing. I’m not an A’s fan at all as a matter of fact I think with as good as team they’ve been and still not gotten support they have every reason to relocate. But to say he’s done anything less than a spectacular job there is rather preposterous. The A’s and Rays have a system going that nobody can knock imo. I give Beane extra props for really changing the way front offices do business.
Fever Pitch Guy
Ever since Beane joined the Oakland front office in 1993, first as Assistant GM and then as GM, his teams have never, EVER won an ALCS game. That’s 28 years!!! Only the Reds and Pirates have never won an LCS game in that same time span. Nobody who goes 0-for-28 is worthy of much praise. Low payroll is an excuse when you look at other low payroll teams that have actually been successful. I could list many of his blunders, like the Donaldson trade. I could bring up how his stats-driven decisions produced teams with poor fundamentals that led to postseason losses. I could bring up how Balco contributed to some regular season success, and how The Big Three (that would be Hudson, Mulder and Zito) carried the team for a few years of regular season success. But you clearly are someone who actually believes that Moneyball was the only reason for their very limited regular season success, so I’ll stop right here. :O)
Fever pitch a great movie, I’m a die hard Yankee fan, I hate the Red Sox and hate ending of movie for obvious reasons … but loved the movie… Yankees in 2021!!!!
Fever Pitch Guy
Since there’s no way to give you a half-upvote, I gave you a full one. LOL If you haven’t seen the Anger Management movie, check it out … you’ll like it.
I love seeing the Yankees loose, because most of their fans are so arrogant
It’s nice when they lose, too
As someone with no horse in the race for either team my overall experience has been that Red Sox fans all have weirdo complex’s about their team and Yankee fans just wanna talk baseball with you….
I find it hilarious when Red Sox fans try to disparage Yankee fans, the Red Sox fans are twice as bad and their organization three times as deserving to be disliked.
You’ve been talking to the wrong Red Sox fans then.
Maybe so but that’s been my expierence and it’s been multiple of them, including in New York and Boston for games.
Always found the whole “evil empire” thing pretty hypocritical. The Red Sox spend just as much, have been much more cut throat to their personnel/players, have been involved in more scandals from my count and their fans incredibly more pompous in their own ballpark and in other teams parks. Never understood why the yankees get so much hate just because they are committed to winning…..
Yes the RS spend as much as the NYYs now, but that “evil empire” thing is historically founded. Many of the Yankee WS titles came during a time when NY had a lot more money to spend, which they did. There was a large span of time before the draft, and any restrictions on spending, when every prospect in the country was a free-agent. Money was a more powerful tool for teams then. They could afford an army of scouts to find prospects and offer more money to sign.
And as to how annoying fans of either are, I suggest reading the comments section of any post about the Giants. You’ll see a resident Yankee fan, with multiple accounts, that knows little about baseball, but insults all Giant’s fans as being “low IQ”.
I’m not judging all Yankee fans by this troll alone, and know there are reasonable Yankee fans that can have real discussion about baseball. Though they can be sensitive about any suggestion that money played a huge part in all their titles. I’m not resentful about that, wish my team had the money to spend, but the reality needs to be recognized.
But generalizations are stupid. There are obnoxious fans from every teams, just as there are reasonable fans of every team.
Well I’m speaking from my personal experience, to be honest I don’t put much stock into people behind a keyboard.
But in regards to the spending, it’s really hard for me to fault a team for being committed to winning and doing whatever it takes….within the rules. Yankee stadium would be packed every night and have the top selling gear regardless of how much they spend on the field. I think it’s actually a testament to ownership that they are willing to spend so much to win. Think of the reverse, would you give kudos to TB, Oakland, Cleveland, or Miami for blatantly shorting their fans the way they do to have a little better bottom line? Especially considering that taking in the factor of a competitive team pulling in more revenue it really is probably a very small percentage that their bottom line improves by not spending more on the team, but that small percentage overrides anything else.
I’m from Michigan and when Ilitch was blowing money away pretending to be a large market team chasing a title we as fans recognized it and appreciated it a lot. Did Ilitch also deserve to be vilified for spending just because he could the way the Yankees have been vilified? Going to be pretty hard for anyone to convince me of that….
Again no horse in this race just an outside observer…..it sounds like envy to be honest but at this point what would a Red Sox fan even have to be envious of? I think it’s a very misplaced moniker and perception of the Yankees and just perpetuated by Red Sox fans who go with it to make themselves feel better “look at them they’re worse!”.
I find this discussion intriguing. I can’t speak for all Sox fans but the Yankee fans of my generation (I’m turning 59) became arrogant in the late 70s and continued mostly consistently until 2004, when the tide turned. Sox fans had never witnessed a championship, suffered crushing defeats in 67, 75, 78 and 86. Sometimes in bizarre ways. The Monster Bucky Freak’n Dent HR for example. While everyone remembers the tortured way the team lost game six of the 86 WS, not many talk about the 3-0 lead the team had in game 7. Moreover the AL championship that season was “lost” when Don Baylor and Dave Henderson hit miracle homers which tortured both Gene Mauch and Donnie Moore. Bronx Bomber fan arrogance only further increased with the next generation and the core four. I always said I wasn’t going to become arrogant like the Yankee fans after 2004 and with each successive Red Sox championship I personally try to remain objective (I do take an occasional return pot shot at NY fans on MLBTR but it’s mostly good fun and tongue in cheek as compared to arrogance. When I’ve re-read a post where I felt I crossed the line, I’ve apologized in a couple of instance. I just find it humorous that Yankee fans are upset by not winning since 2009. Of course the object is to win but the reality is it’s not easy. How many people my age would gladly accept the number of championships Yankee fans have witnessed? The Yankee fan who believes it’s their birthright to have a championship parade every year are the arrogant ones that Sox fans take pleasure in beating.
Fever Pitch Guy
You left out three other crushing defeats. When they blew the ’46 World Series in Game 7 because Pesky held the ball. In 1972 when they finished a half game behind the first place Tigers because the Sox played one less game. And in 2003 when they blew an AL pennant because of Grady Little’s horrendous managing in Game 7.
So that’s 4 straight World Series Game 7 defeats, a one-game playoff defeat, an ALCS Game 7 defeat, and missing out on a postseason birth and division title because they played one less game. Their history during the 86-year drought doesn’t get much more brutal than that. But man, the way it ended couldn’t have been any sweeter!
Both fan bases are horrid but only one with pelt you with things
I wasn’t around in 46. 72 was a strike year and they lost the pennant because Aparicio tripped rounding third. Yes 2003 was also torturous but like you said it made 2004 even more sweeter. I’ve told this story before. I had a great relationship with an aunt who by this time was in her 80s. I kidded mercilessly and she took everything in stride by always responding by calling me a stinker. Anyway she had said for over 20 years that she wasn’t leaving this earth until she saw the Sox win. When they won in 2004, I called her up while the celebration was still ongoing, reminded her of what she said and told she could now leave anytime. My aunt passed four years later and the joking bond we had brings a smile to my face when I think of that conversation.
you must not spend a lot of time watching baseball and interacting with a lot of fans. all you had to do was watch yankee fans in the 2019 alcs bash a player for having social anxiety and throwing trash at players in the bullpen. there’s really no comparison. your personal experience is not a good reflection on reality.
sox fanbase isn’t horrid. give me a break
I’ll go there and agree Looie. NY fans were loud and proud starting in the 1970’s. Georgie went about buying up every piece of talent he could, never used his farm system for anything, but trading for years. Hired a drunk named billy martin to run an aptly named “bronx zoo” he had assembled and was kept together buy infighting and would win every year. George even demanded winning in ST was such the type of owner.
Martin and Georgie would get into awful public spats.. sometimes name calling back and forth so bad martin would get canned.. I believe georgie fired him 2x, tho brought him back, once after martin went to oakland. Nobody else was capable of bringing the clan of mercenaries he bought together.. Other than martin.
NY fans were high and proud about it all for years. NOBODY spent close to as much as Georgie did on his Yanks for decades. All of that is forgotten by many fans conveniently.
Haha okay buddy
I was also speaking from personal experience as well as the inclusion of the historical perspective. But it still comes down to how much money a team has available as much as how willing they are to spend it. Some teams just don’,t have the resources to spend. Plus, in a more recent perspective you also need to factor in the penalties for overspending.
Outspending every other team prior to the MLB draft got the NYYs 20 of their 27 titles. Out spending every other team since 1997, when the CBT was instituted, has gotten them 4 and cost them almost $358M in CB taxes. Whereas the RS have paid out almost $53M for their 4 WS titles, so they’re hardly worse.
I’m neither a RS nor a Yankee fan, I don’t believe my perspective is envious, it’s simply a reality to be recognized. There will always be an unfair advantage for the richer teams. I don’t take exception to the NYYs more recent victories, it’s more with Yankee fans bragging about the first 20 when they had more financial power than any other team, and used it.
Martin managed the Yankees five times. They were married to each other. You know can’t live with him but also can’t live without him. I spent 1980-81 living in the East Bay. Martin ruined that great starting staff as he had no bullpen and just let each burn out their arm. Trying to picture Martin managing for Steinbrenner in today’s analytical game. I think George would have fired him after a spring training loss.
With many bragging simply about history because their too young to have witnessed those earlier championships. In my lifetime the score is NY 7, Boston 4 however the Sox have won 4 out of the last 5.
Definitely understood but to go back 50-80 years and use that as reasoning for why Red Sox fans today disparage Yankee fans is a bit much don’t you think?
In regards to the modern era, the Red Sox spend just as freely as the Yankees have. I know we all love our stats/numbers and you’ll point out that the Red Sox spent less overall but does being the #2 spender really give you the credence to call the #1 spender an evil empire? What would you have the Yankees do, spend less out of pity? Act like the Rays to have a better bottom line? Or are you saying a salary cap is needed? Either way I really don’t see it as something to disparage the Yankees with, it’s the opposite to me it’s something I give them credit for that they put winning above profits.
But regardless that’s just one aspect of it, if you ask me the Red Sox have treated a lot of their personnel and players like real disposable garbage over the past few decades and they have been involved in quite a few scandals. Not to mention they seem to develop on field altercations with everyone they play.
This isn’t so much in defense of the Yankees as I’m not necessarily even a Yankees fan as it is pointing out how comically hypocritical it is for Red Sox fans to believe they hold some type of moral self righteous baseball superiority over Yankees fans.
The debate isn’t “are the Yankees evil because they spend more money”, no of course they’re not that’s ridiculous. Every fan wishes their teams ownership spent more money.
The debate is do Red Sox fans have any baseball morality grounds to disparage Yankee fans which in my opinion they absolutely do not, I could easily argue that the Red Sox have been the evil empire of the modern era or at the very least they have no credibility to call Yankee fans out in anything considering their teams actions and their fans actions in visiting ballparks
I’ll say it again and this is from multiple personal experiences, when I’m at a tigers game and sitting next to a Yankees fan all they want to do is talk baseball. When I’m sitting next a Red Sox fan all they want to do is talk trash and heckle as if it’s a home game for them.
Yankees fans are mostly arrogant self important aholes
Yankee haters are mostly whiney crybaby d-bags
Most Redsox fans are diehard fans that suffered for many years. Yankee fans till 2004 were so disrespectful to Redsox fans. Funny how things have changed and Yankee fans are bitter now.
We’ll have to agree to disagree. There are 2 points of yours that need correction. As the record shows, the Yankees do out spend the Sox. And the Sox are not the #2 spenders. That rank goes to the LA Dodgers.
Definitely have to agree to disagree because that doesn’t change my point it’s just semantics and it only speaks to a small part of the argument. If the Yankees somehow deserve to be labeled as “evil” then the Red Sox deserve just as much and from my point of view even more.
It’s like saying the guy who shot someone with a gun is more of a criminal than the person who stabbed someone. Hell it takes more gall to stab someone….
I’m sorry, but what you’re saying is totally nonsensical. Assuming the result of the shooting or stabbing is the same, it doesn’t matter, since you’ve negated all sense of degree. It’s more like someone robbing 5 banks, and stealing 5x the amount of money, versus another guy that robbed one bank, stealing 1/5 the amount. Both are bad, but clearly the serial bank robber is worse.
By your logic any team that spends so much on free-agents that they cross the CBT threshold and have to pay tax are all the same. They’re not. The ones with the huge luxury tax bill are the worst offenders, and can’t be compared to a team that hardly paid anything.
And as far as semantics go, pointing out that the Red Sox spend far less, which is a fact, plus that they’re the third worst offender, not the second, another fact, s not semantics.
Well a bit off topic but relating to your point, in my mind a bank robber is a bank robber doesn’t matter if they robbed one bank or one hundred banks.
I’m not necessarily defending the Yankees spending, don’t even know why anyone would need to that. It’s more to the point that its nonsensical for a team to be criticized for spending money to win, would you rather your team spend less? What fan prefers their ownership to spend less?
I’m sorry that argument falls completely flat. Find me one single fan who will say with a straight face “yea I prefer the owners of the team I root for to spend less money”.
So again my point is not specifically about spending but if that is what you want to fixate on because you can find an argument in it then the only logical conclusion for someone to criticize another teams spending is simple envy. You’re really going to argue that the third worst offender has credence to criticize the first offender? So by that logic all the other teams should be calling the Red Sox, Dodgers and Yankees “evil”…..it’s a silly premise.
I’m sorry but a Red Sox fan criticizing the Yankees for their spending is comical. But even if you want to somehow use that as argument my other points still stand. As an outside observer the Red Sox organization with their cut throat treatment of players/personnel along with the scandals they have been involved in and their fans behavior in opposing ballparks, not to mention the team itself seeming to start altercations with everyone they play, makes them much more conducive to criticism than the Yankees. The Yankees are a class act compared to the Red Sox.
Again I will reiterate, I’m not a fan of either team at all.
All you have to do is see how they got all their great players up into the 60’s. In allot of cases all they had to do was outbid teams, which was nothing for the organization at the time (Whitey Ford for starters; outbid Sox in him.. No selection process, just strait up money.. Purchase the Bambino from Boston because the owner was hard up for cash so they struck a deal.. If you do your homework you can trace multiple players ending up in NY this way.. Yaz’s book (1980ish) talks about this as well. Business was done differently before the 80’s kicked in.
You do know they re-wrote the ending when Dave Roberts stole 2nd?
It was only a matter of time before a MLB team went public. I wonder what teams will follow this pursuit next.
Braves are already publicly traded
These sports teams can’t have fans. I am not buying that stock. No thank you.
What you think common people would be looking to buy it as actual investment?
Buy low, sell high. If you think fans are never returning, sell short.
It would seem this would force financial disclosures on profitability that owners have so far resisted at all costs.
Quote: “… Fenway Sports/RedBall partnership could look to buy more soccer clubs around Europe.”
I guess the news about UEFA’s “Integrity of the Game” rule, which prohibits multiple club ownership, hasn’t made it across the Atlantic yet. Considering the fact that most European national football associations have similar regulations in place, the respective clubs would face bans from participating in national as well as UEFA competitions, such as Champions and Europa League.
Yeah, because Red Bull doesn’t own multiple teams, King Power doesn’t own two teams, Dmitry Rybolovlev doesn’t own AS Monaco and Cercle Brugge.
If they want to invest, they could easily modify and spin-off the soccer department into another entity, and bring it into cooperation with UEFA rules. It’s been done time and time again and UEFA has never been as serious of an organization as people are led to believe.
Among thousands of professional football clubs in UEFA territory, cases like Red Bull represent the absolute exception. And before RB Leipzig and Red Bull Salzburg were allowed to participate in European football contests, they had to untangle their common business practices and cooperation significantly, including the resignation of several board members at both clubs.
So, no, it hasn’t “been done time and time again” and certainly not “easily”, even though it might seem like it from a myopic U.S. perspective.
They know soccer is not a real sport and the “rioting” fans of years gone by turned out to be rival gangs meeting at the matches to get it on. Not as big a base as they once thought.
Walgreens, I could be wrong but I recall reading a few months back how that rule stopped being enforced. The point of the story was how it put Fenway ownership at a disadvantage. Bid true, perhaps they’ve decided to do what others already are doing. I tried but couldn’t find the article just now.
Apologies for the autocorrect waldfee.
I’m sure they would do really well just due to an overly inflated share price fron people putting a premium on owning a piece of their team or just the cool factor in general.
But man it’s really hard for me to see the other owners allowing one of their flagship franchises open its books to the entire world. I’m extremely doubtful this will go anywhere….
Exactly…brilliant point. But I think the former (a piece of the pie, the cool factor)) will outweigh the later (accuracy of the numbers).
Either way, John Henry is bringing MLB into a new sphere, which makes him the Jeff Bezos of pro sports. Remember when Steinbrenner called the Sox purchase the “dumbest thing he’d ever seen”? Kinda like the folks that said an on-line bookstore would never work.
@bobtilman Braves are already publicly traded, therefore Red Sox/John Henry aren’t doing anything that hasn’t been done before in baseball
Oh wow I had no idea thank you
As a life long Dodger fan. I hate and loathe the AL East, but I’ve always wanted to own a baseball team. So even if it gets me one share. I’d gladly own part of the Red Sox.
I would too, if only to sell Sale
Yankee fans can request a stock certificate (instead of holding the shares in kind in their brokerage account) to use as a dart board. Lol
Then they can admire the Red Sox certificate on their wall……with lots of holes in it. Lol
Seems the rich are trying to get richer on the backs of fools.
Yea god forbid people try to make money right?
What a silly take, i have no love for big companies nobody is forcing anyone to buy it.
Dude it would totally be a gag buy on my part obviously not going to get rich of any of it. But one or a couple of shares under my belt to be able to say hey I’m part owner even for the joke would be kinda cool.
Annoying that Fenway Sports is worth $8 billion but we don’t spend like it.
Not sure about that. Since the inception of the CBT the RS have paid out almost $53M in tax, third most behind the NYYs, and LADs.
At the end of the day it’s a business..
Cool concept. I think the Braves already do it. Cue the over-inflated share price due to die hard fans (with excess capital) wanting the experience of being “owners.”
The trouble with publicly traded businesses is that stockholders expect dividends, so the focus for shareholders becomes the bottom line. Maximizing profits isn’t always the best overall strategy. and bean-counters get a greater role in decisions.
Maybe it would be different for sports teams, since I imagine a lot of fans would simply be happy just to own shares in their team, and not expect dividends, but I would be careful of unexpected consequences. Certainly any ownership group would need to maintain a majority of the shares, but the fact that ownership groups can be so large could complicate things. It would be weird to see a hostile takeover of a sports team.
This is a brilliant financial move by the Redsox and the other team owners may want to heed how this will go:
1) You have the fans just waiting in the wings to buy one or more shares of their favorite teams even at a premium price
2) As a majority shareholder you will still get to influence a lot of decisions
3) During an unexpected financial crisis (like the pandemic), you will suffer less financial blowback.
A’s Billy Beane’s had many opportunities to leave a talented Oakland and he has not. Not only his roots are here in the Bay Area, he commands lots with the Athletics organization.
he also owns a stake in the A’s which he would need to divest from
Investing in the sports entertainment industry in the COVID era seems unwise. Unless of course they use virtual players who don’t get paid or test positive for COVID. I am sure many small investor fans will be all in though. The days of a small private group of billionaire investors buying teams is over, so go public and reel in the little fish. Plenty of little fish in the sea.
Just A Girl Who Likes Sports
Would bring some much needed financial transparency to the sport. I’d appreciate having audited financials to help evaluate claims of inability to “afford” free agents or build their own effing stadiums.