New England Sports ventures, the group that owns the Boston Red Sox have been approved by the board of Liverpool FC to buy the English club. This comes as a relief to the fans of Liverpool, who did not approve of the ownership of Americans Tom Hicks and George Gillett Jr.
Hicks and Gillett purchased the team in February of 2007, but have failed in their attempts to build a new stadium to replace Anfield. The club has also amassed an enormous debt under the new owners.
While Liverpool fans are happy that Hicks and Gillett are selling the team, they should hold their celebration. The club is going from one group of American owners to another. The club will still have to pay off its debt, and there is no guarantee that new ownership will make that much of a difference for Liverpool—a club that's been in a downward spiral the last two seasons and have gotten off to a terrible start in this one.
The fans who need to worry most however, are Boston Red Sox fans.
Can the Red Sox owners handle owning both the Red Sox and an English Premier League team?
Over the last decade, the English Premier League has become a booming success, with large amounts of money being thrown into it. Recently, American investors have wanted in on the action and have began purchasing Premier League clubs in hopes of making big profits.
Unfortunately this investment has not paid off.
Currently, Liverpool, Manchester United, and Aston Villa are all under American ownership.
All three clubs have money issues right now. Liverpool's have been the most public, while many fans believe that Manchester United could not be active in the transfer market because of a lack of funds, and Aston Villa just had their manager quit because the club had to sell their best player because they needed the money.
It is not just the Premier League teams that are struggling.
Hicks, who also owned the Texas Rangers, had to file for chapter 11 bankruptcy protection for the Rangers back in May. The team was sold in August. The Glazers, owners of Manchester United, who have amassed a huge debt, are struggling with their NFL franchise the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
The new owners of Liverpool will be in charge of clearing the debt, and restore winning to the club. A process that involves spending a lot of money, not just to clear the debt, but to bring in new players.
While the Premier League experienced huge growth in the past decade, it is now on its way back down. Many teams are strapped for cash and have money issues. Top players are leaving the league and going to other leagues such as La Liga in Spain. Inflation has set the price to buy players at incredibly high prices. Even worse, there isn't as much money coming into the league anymore.
Clubs aren't making as much money, and debts are rising.
With the new owners now having to spend a lot of money with Liverpool, the Red Sox are sure to suffer. The Red Sox are a big market franchise that operates with a large payroll. Having a sudden lack of money can cause a major disruption.
Look at what happened to the New York Mets when owner Fred Wilpon lost money in the Bernie Madoff scandal. The Mets couldn't compete for free agents. Since this is how the Red Sox operate, it would be a major loss if they couldn't compete with the free spending Yankees for players. Changing the way the Red Sox bring in players, to more of a small market system, would cost both time and money.
There have not been many Americans who have had success owning Premier League clubs.
The Red Sox owners buying Liverpool is a very risky investment for them personally, and may cause even more harm then they realize, to the Red Sox and their fans. The major question is, does this group have enough money to support both an English Premier League club that has lost money in several of the past seasons, as well as the Boston Red Sox.