Report: Fenway Sports Group Wants to Buy NBA Team; Price to Buy Penguins Is $875M

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVNovember 24, 2021

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - OCTOBER 20: A general view of Chris Sale #41 of the Boston Red Sox pitching against the Houston Astros in the third inning of Game Five of the American League Championship Series at Fenway Park on October 20, 2021 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Omar Rawlings/Getty Images)
Omar Rawlings/Getty Images

The Fenway Sports Group, which currently owns the Boston Red Sox and Liverpool FC and 50 percent of RFK Racing, is reportedly interested in purchasing an NBA team, per Dan Primack of Axios. 

That pursuit would take place after the company's reported purchase of the Pittsburgh Penguins for $875 million. 

Per Primack, Fenway Sports Group is expected to "seek out [an NBA] target in 2022."

It's all part of the organization's reported plan to buy up "marquee franchises in different geographic markets," though Primack reported the ownership group was interested in purchasing the Boston Bruins had they been made available before entering negotiations with the Penguins. 

One interesting wrinkle in the group's reported interest in owning an NBA team is that the group has invested in SpringHill Company, which was founded by Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and agent Maverick Carter. Both James and Carter own small stakes in FSG. 

Given that James is a current player and Carter represents a number of NBA players, it could be a violation of the collective bargaining agreement for James to be an owner and a possible conflict of interest for Carter. 

Mike Vorkunov @MikeVorkunov

LeBron James is a partner at Fenway Sports Group β€” which owns the Red Sox, Liverpool, and now Penguins β€” and reportedly has an ownership stake. Wonder how that would work if FSG tried to buy an NBA team since the CBA bars NBA players from any direct or indirect team ownership. <a href="https://t.co/Bws4H15FWh">https://t.co/Bws4H15FWh</a>

Granted, James is 36 and only under contract with the Lakers through the 2022-23 season. It's possible he will retire before FSG is able to complete the purchase of an NBA team. 

The other possibility is that James would have to divest from FSG.

Another interesting factor: Perhaps James, as part owner of the Penguins, might help influence the NBA into putting a franchise in Pittsburgh:

Kevin Paul Dupont @GlobeKPD

With LeBron James a partner in Fenway Sports Group, and FSG on verge of buying the Penguins, how soon before LeBron et al lobby the NBA for a team in PIT?

However the situation plays out, it's appears Fenway Sports Group has broad ambitions to expand its ownership stake in the world of sports.