LeBron James, perhaps the biggest household name in the NBA, has signed a deal with the Fenway Sports Group, who are the current owners of both baseball’s Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC, which sees the player become a minor shareholder in the eighteen-time English champions.
Under terms of the agreement between LRMR – the marketing company who look after the Miami Heat star – and Fenway, owned by John W. Henry, FSG become the exclusive representative for the two-time NBA MVP.
The deal is designed to be a mutually beneficial arrangement between the parties, which looks to maximise each sides marketing potential across the globe.
Liverpool chairman Tom Werner said of the deal: “We believe this will be a powerful collaboration between Fenway Sports Management and LRMR and LeBron.
“There are very few athletes who can match his global reach, appeal and iconic status.
“We are very excited that LeBron will be part of the Liverpool FC family. LeBron and Liverpool each has a powerful presence internationally, with particular strength in Asia, but the business opportunities for both working and being identified together in emerging markets will result in unforeseen opportunities that neither would have been able to realise alone.
“We’re not interested in talent or athlete representation, but we think he is one of the most remarkable athletes of his time. We believe we can open doors for LeBron and LeBron can open doors for us.”
James, the controversial bastketball star who was heavily criticised last year for going on live television to announce that he would be joining the Miami Heat at the expiration of his Cleveland Cavaliers contract – he was described as “callous” by Cavaliers majority owner Dan Gilbert, who called James defection a “cowardly betrayal” – has said that he is “humbled” to be linking up with the five-time European champions.
“The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman,” said the 26-year-old, who has been selected in the NBA all-star team every year since 2005.
“This is a great opportunity for me. Liverpool is one of the most important clubs in all of sports and I am excited to be affiliated with this incredible organisation.”
The size of James’ stake in Liverpool has not been disclosed.