By: Royce Young
LeBron James wanted to become a global star, a worldwide businessman. Well, he's on his way.
Via the Wall Street Journal, LeBron has acquired a piece of the English Premier League's Liverpool FC.
The deal between Mr. James and Fenway Sports Group will give Mr. James a minority stake in the soccer club Liverpool, which FSG owns. FSG, which also owns the Boston Red Sox, is partnering with Mr. James's sports-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing to become the exclusive world-wide representative for Mr. James.
The deal marks the first time that a professional athlete at the top of his game has taken an ownership interest in a team with the size and reach of Liverpool, which is one of the most popular and powerful sports franchises in the world.
According to Deloitte's 2010 Football Money League report, Liverpool is the world's eighth-biggest soccer team by revenue, with $320 million in revenue during the 2009-10 season. Liverpool and Manchester United have won 18 top division championships, the most among English teams, and both are wildly popular in Asia, where Liverpool will tour this summer.
In the report, LeBron said he felt "humbled" by the deal and even said he looked forward to visiting a game. LeBron also said that the first time he stepped on the floor in the NBA, he became a businessman. Which is again, one of the biggest problems people have with his approach. He sees it as a business and while we hear that all the time, to fans, it's about winning and losing.
That was the largest criticism of "The Decision." LeBron didn't seem to get it. He's locked into business decisions, not common sense ones. Of course I'm not saying this deal with Liverpool is in any way a bad thing, just more looking at LeBron's perspective of it.
LeBron had a fun statement too: "Eighteen championships," he said. "I see myself trying to do the same things they have." Oh geez. If you're going to get anywhere near that, you're going to have to start forgetting about business and start thinking about basketball.
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