From a $700 million purchase of the local baseball team 18 years ago, the ownership group of the Red Sox has mushroomed into a sports business worth $6.6 billion, according to a list compiled by Forbes.
Fenway Sports Group’s holdings place them third — globally — on the list of sports conglomerates, behind only Kroenke Sports ($8.4 billion) and Jerry Jones ($6.9 billion).
The bulk of FSG’s holdings center around the Red Sox, estimated by Forbes to be worth some $3.2 billion, and the Premier League’s Liverpool Football Club, which FSG purchased in 2010 for $487 million and is now estimated by Forbes to be worth $2.2 billion.
The other FSG properties that have contributed to the 843 percent increase in value include NESN, Roush Racing (NASCAR), and Fenway Sports Management.
John Henry, principal owner of FSG, also owns the Boston Globe.
Fenway Sports Group placed one ranking ahead of the Yankees’ group, Yankee Global Enterprises, which is tabbed at $6.1 billion.
The Kraft family is in eighth place at $4.5 billion. The holdings of the Kraft Group include the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution (Major League Soccer), and Kraft Analytics Group.
The Kroenke empire includes the Los Angeles Rams (NFL), Denver Nuggets (NBA), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), and Arsenal in the Premier League.
Jones’s holdings include the Dallas Cowboys and Legends, a stadium hospitality and merchandising outfit.
Besides the Yankees, YGE also owns a piece of Legends, as well as the YES Network and New York City FC (MLS).
Kraft has influence
In its 2019 rankings of the 50 most influential people in sports business, Sports Business Journal placed Patriots owner Robert Kraft at No. 13.
“Kraft remains one of the most powerful owners in the NFL and MLS with an outsized voice on the biggest issues, including labor talks and media rights, despite his legal difficulties in Florida,” read the magazine’s brief write-up.
“He also facilitated the high-profile partnership between Jay-Z and the NFL.
Outside of No. 10 LeBron James, who owns a stake in Liverpool, nobody from FSG made the list.
Roger Goodell, NFL commissioner, ranked first, followed by NBA commissioner Adam Silver, and MLB commissioner Rob Manfred. Jones ranked 11th, baseball agent Scott Boras and basketball agent Rich Paul shared the 27th ranking, with tennis star Serena Williams at No. 30, California Governor Gavin Newsom at No. 37, and MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark at No. 43.
To round out list and ranking developments, Sports Business Journal named Silver as the executive of the decade; the Golden State Warriors as the franchise of the decade; NBA, league of the decade; and the San Francisco Bay area as the city of the decade.
In the Esports world, the New England Revolution announced it has re-signed Oak Bluffs native John “JKO1707” Oliveira as the club’s official eMLS competitor . . . The new New England Free Jacks rugby team, which will begin play in Major League Rugby next year, announced a beer partnership with the Baxter Brewing Company from Lewiston, Maine. “Free Jacks IPA” is, according to a news release, “inspired by the core rugby values of camaraderie, community, passion, discipline, and respect and that embody the New England region.” . . . California, the most populous state in the country, could be entering the world of sports betting. According to the Wall Street Journal, two ballot initiatives, one coming from Native American tribes, the other from state lawmakers, could be placed before voters in 2020.