Liverpool FC Owners FSG Contemplate a £2bn NBA Expansion
FSG’s Interest in NBA Expansion
Liverpool FC owners Fenway Sports Group (FSG) have been vocal about their interest in acquiring an NBA expansion franchise. The group, led by co-founder and Liverpool chairman Tom Werner, has a varied sports portfolio, including the Boston Red Sox (MLB), the Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL), and RFK Racing (NASCAR).
As per reports from The Liverpool ECHO, the NBA league expansion from the current 30 teams to 32 in the coming seasons has FSG poised for action. This exciting development has several potential bidders on high alert, with FSG at the front of the queue.
The LeBron James Connection
Adding to the intrigue is the involvement of basketball icon and FSG partner, LeBron James. Known for his desire to own and manage an NBA team, James has set his sights on Las Vegas.
The bustling city of Las Vegas, transformed into a sporting hub with the arrival of the Las Vegas Raiders (NHL) and Las Vegas Golden Knights (NHL), is expected to gain an NBA team once the expansion materialises. James’ interest in Las Vegas aligns well with FSG’s strategy, who seem more inclined towards a Las Vegas franchise over Seattle.
Roadblocks Ahead for NBA Expansion
Before the NBA expansion conversation could gain momentum, several issues required resolution. One of the critical concerns involved reaching a collective bargaining agreement (CBA) with the NBA players’ union, set to run until 2029. Fortunately, the agreement was recently approved.
The next item on the NBA’s agenda involves negotiating a new cycle of media rights, an action anticipated to take place next spring. On this topic, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver shared his perspective, stating the league would “turn to expansion” once the media rights issue is sorted. Although Silver stated the NBA “doesn’t have anything specific in mind right now,” he added it “makes sense over time.”
What This Means for FSG
This potential NBA team expansion aligns with FSG’s broader strategy of augmenting their North American sports portfolio. The cost certainty, due to the unique structure of the professional leagues in the US, makes it an attractive proposition for the group. Despite FSG’s interest in expanding their football holdings through a multi-club model, their focus appears to have shifted towards their American interests.
Should the NBA expansion proceed, the entry price for a new team is expected to exceed $2.5bn. Existing member clubs, who would need to approve any expansion proposals, would benefit from the distribution of this sum.
What this Means for Liverpool FC
Would FSG need to sell any of its assets for the potential investment into an NBA team? This would be music to the ears of many Liverpool supporters and maybe why FSG have, in recent times, looked for offers for a sale of the club. As talks of a sale have recently died down, maybe the delay is to do with the NBA expansion, and once that clarity arrives, the talks to sell Liverpool may once again kick into gear.
In summary, FSG’s venture into the NBA could potentially unfold sooner than expected. However, the actual timeline will depend on the completion of the media rights negotiation and the formal initiation of the expansion process. Liverpool fans will undoubtedly keep a keen eye on the situation.