John Henry bought Liverpool for about $500 million
It is now official, pending a legal fight, that Liverpool has been sold to Boston Red Sox owner John Henry and his company New England Sports Ventures. Liverpool fans now have a sense of optimism after previous American owners Tom Hicks and George Gillett drove the team into $450 million of debt.
Are these fans right to get excited, or will they be let down by yet another American looking to get a piece of the EPL pie?
NESV has proven to be a successful sports ownership franchise, most notably with the Boston Red Sox of Major League Baseball. The company also owns the regional New England Sports Network, NESN, Fenway Park and Fenway Sports Group, as well as 50 percent ownership of Roush Racing, a NASCAR team with other racing interests.
It is without doubt that the companies takeover of the Red Sox has turned around the franchise. Since 2002, the Red Sox are second in the league in regular season winning percentage, and first in the league in both post season wins and championships.
Success like this has earned them numerous accolades including being selected the No. 1 ownership group in the MLB by Sports Illustrated.
Liverpool and the Red Sox have more in common than one might think. They are both franchises rich in tradition. Fenway Park and Anfield Stadium may not be the most modern of venues, but they tell stories that the new Yankee Stadium and Emirates Stadium cannot.
John Henry and NESV managed to capitalize on the dedicated following of the Red Sox, and plan to do so again across the pond. Assuming their management style has not suddenly changed, John Henry will make no drastic changes such as the construction of a new stadium.
Rather, he will methodically make the right investments and business decisions that will return Liverpool to the form that their reputation dictates.
Will Liverpool see the same dramatic turnaround as the Red Sox?
The simple answer is no.
Just look at what John Henry stands to gain from a turnaround at Liverpool versus what he gained with the Red Sox renewed success.
Keep in mind that his company owns NESN, the broadcasting channel of the Boston Red Sox, as well as the Fenway Sports Group that owns the Red Sox Stadium. Both NESN and the Fenway Sports Group are direct beneficiaries of the Red Sox success.
When the Red Sox are winning, NESN gets more viewers, and more people go to Fenway. Essentially, when John Henry makes an investment that helps the Red Sox to win, he sees a triple return in that investment.
Because John Henry and NESV have no other interests tied directly to the success of Liverpool, the benefits the company receives from an increase in Liverpool's success is less than that of the Red Sox.
However, John Henry is obviously a smart businessman with a plan for Liverpool. It is not to say that he will forget about Liverpool because of less earnings potential. Actually, it is the opposite. He would not have been interested in buying the club if he did not see a strong potential for earnings.
Liverpool fans can count on John Henry and NESV return Liverpool back to winning ways. They must be cautions, however, so as not to expect a turnaround as efficient and impressive as the Red Sox after NESV's takeover. It is not personal, it is just business.
Liverpool fans should still rejoice. You are not far from returning the the winning ways of old. Just be patient and trust in your new owners. A league championship may not be in the cards for this year or next, but one is sure to come.
You have waited 20 years, so what is five more?