When Liverpool president Tom Werner told reporters he would be “surprised” if LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter didn’t “weigh” management decisions involving the Reds and Boston Red Sox, he raised a lot of eyebrows.
An icon of basketball that has transcended this sport, yes, but relies on its wisdom in football and baseball, a really smart move, or it is simply the case that Werner and Fenway Sports Group were polite and showed that they would welcome any ideas of their new partners, although perhaps not as much as it influences decision-making policy?
“I’ll actually be surprised if they don’t weigh in (the decisions of any team’s management) – I’d welcome their thoughts,” Werner told The Athletic.
“I think that the relationship that the consumer has with the sports team is emotional.
“I consider Maverick one of my closest friends and I talked to him for hours about strategy, coaching, the lessons I learned from Jurgen Klopp and the lessons he learned as a discerning basketball observer.
“We have a very cooperative relationship, so I would actually say that their wisdom and their experience will be of great help to us in the future.”
But will that really be the case? Will people like James be foreign to the employment strategy at Liverpool and the Red Sox? It is very likely that they will not, they will not.
Werner, in an impromptu interview with Boston radio station WEEI before the opening of the MLB Red Sox season against the Balitmore Orioles at Fenway Park, withdrew a bit from those initial comments, especially given how Boston fans in some neighborhoods received.
The excitement over the deal and the existence of one of the greatest athletes on the planet as part of the FSG has caused a media storm, and there are plenty of potential ways James and Carter could help Liverpool owners, but Werner has shifted the focus away from team operations in achieving their commercial goals.
“He’s just going to be a resource for players and player psychology, he’s not going to make any lineup decisions or anything like that,” Werner told WEEI.
“LeBron and Maverick are smart people, they run a media company that’s a great business. They have great relationships, from Nike to Disney to Amazon. They will be a resource like many of our partners.”
And that is it. James and Carter are a resource for FSG, and FSG is a resource for James and Carter. It’s a sympathetic relationship.
FSG will want to make better use of James ’fame and his relationship with Nike, something that will most likely be the avenue to be explored, while James will be part of FSG the opportunity to continue to grow the £ 4.7 million stake he had in Liverpool back in 2011. year, even further than £ 40m plus how much it is worth now.
Respect for that role is what paved the way for this conversion of his stake in Liverpool to FSG, and for FSG it gives them a direct line to one of the most influential sports figures on the planet.
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James is also a man who likes to take ownership of what he invests his time in, and FSG knows that.
But while James’s superstar is something no other FSG partner can offer John Henry and Werner as they move into what FS director and CEO Sam Sam Kennedy described as ‘FSG 3.0’, there are 25 more partners in the equation, some with a much higher stakes of James and Carter.
The relationship presents exciting ways to explore with Nike, and Gerry Cardinale of RedBird Capital Partners has a set of skills to help maximize its potential.
For James, however, the FSG will no doubt listen to the ideas he has in all areas of business, but as far as decision-making policy is concerned, the status quo remains.