New England Soccer Today

James Agrees to Terms with Fenway, Liverpool

Liverpool now has owners representing the sports of both baseball and basketball. 

Miami Heat superstar LeBron James and business partner Maverick Carter have reached a deal with Fenway Sports Management, a branch of Fenway Sports Group to expand their global marketing reach. As part of their agreement,  LRMR Branding & Marketing, James’ marketing firm, have acquired a minor stake in Liverpool FC, which is owned by Fenway Sports Group.

“I am excited to be affiliated with such an incredible organization and I look forward to donning a red shirt and visiting Anfield,” James said earlier today.

James is now the second NBA player who holds major stock in a professional soccer team.  Phoenix Suns point-guard Steve Nash was one of the main protagonists in bringing the Vancouver Whitecaps to Major League Soccer and is now one of the club’s owners.

Though Nash is one of the NBA’s more prominent stars, few players carry the same brand recognition and appeal as James.  The basketball star’s image has arguably made him NBA’s most recognizable face as his name and likeness has not only sold countless jerseys and posters, but has also been featured on advertisements and commercials across the globe.

James currently commands a salary just shy of $15 million annually- even though he has yet to lead a team to an NBA title.  But even though James’ hasn’t yet earned a championship ring for either the Miami Heat or his former Cleveland Cavaliers, his stock continues to rise and his name continues to be a money maker.

“The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman,” James told the Wall Street Journal. “This is a great opportunity for me.”

And Liverpool will be taking advantage of James’ name and popularity, according to Chairman Tom Werner.

“There are very few athletes who can match his global reach, appeal, and iconic status,” said Werner. “The business opportunities for both working and being identified together in emerging international markets will result in unforeseen opportunities that neither would have been able to realize alone.”

Although details regarding the agreement have not yet been released, Fenway Sports Group will likely earn a small commission on the deal.

Adding James to the fold is just another in a series of changes this year for Liverpool, who were struggling at the bottom of the English Premier League table when Fenway Sports Group bought them this fall.  A winter transfer sent Spanish forward Fernando Torres, arguably the best scorer in the world, to Chelsea.  The transfer season also saw Liverpool lose Ryan Babel and add Luis Suarez and Andrew Carroll.

With the new changes, Liverpool have since recovered their form and currently sit sixth in the Premier League.  Though sixth is uchartered territory for a team that had regularly qualified for the UEFA Champions League, the fresh faces on Liverpool’s roster and the squad’s investors certainly brigthen the outlook on the 2011/2012 season.

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