Boston Red Sox Ownership Reportedly Considering Selling the Franchise

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistSeptember 13, 2012

FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 19:  Principal Owner John Henry of the Boston Red Sox talks with the media during a Spring Training Workout Session at the Red Sox Player Development Complex on February 19, 2011 in Fort Myers, Florida.  (Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images)
J. Meric/Getty Images

Given all the turmoil surrounding the Boston Red Sox since September 2011, the franchise has a lot of cleanup work to do. That cleanup could begin with a new ownership group in the not-too-distant future.

According to a report from Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business, the Fenway Sports Group, led by John Henry, is debating whether or not to sell the franchise it has owned for the last decade:

The owners of the Boston Red Sox are mulling a potential sale of the storied baseball franchise, and have even begun quietly shopping the team to potential buyers, the FOX Business Network has learned.

The team is owned by the Fenway Sports Group, which also owns the English football team Liverpool FC. While no final decision has been made about a potential sale, and the talks appear to be in the early stages, executives at Fenway Sports are debating whether they have the financial resources to run both teams, according to people with direct knowledge of the matter.

John Henry was on the Mut & Merloni Radio Show (via WEEI.com) and did not sound like someone who was prepared to sell his team any time soon, particularly about the subject of documents that state what would happen to the Red Sox if something happened to anyone in the ownership group. 

"If those documents ever came to light, it would be clear that we're in this for the long run," said Henry. "We're committed to the Red Sox, committed to returning to where we need to be."

Henry would also talked about the huge deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers that happened in August had nothing to do with a bigger plan from the owners. 

Henry said that the recent blockbuster trade with the Dodgers was not a reflection of a desire to sell the club but rather to create a better baseball operation in the world of the new Collective Bargaining Agreement.

"We did it for one reason and one reason only: To provide payroll flexibility," he said.

Henry, who is part of the ownership group, also issued a statement earlier today refuting the report that the franchise is for sale (via Pete Abraham, Boston Globe).

"A sale of any kind is so far from our thinking it hasn't even come up apart from technical planning issues involving death or disability. This report is completely without foundation.

"Regarding unnamed sources: Any sale discussions that may have taken place were missing three key people — Larry [Lucchino], Tom [Werner] and me. The Sox and any of the other components of FSG are not for sale and will not be for the foreseeable future."

The timing of the announcement is interesting, considering all the problems surrounding the team on the field this season and the moves that were recently made to dump a lot of salary.

The report says that the franchise could net a sale in the $1.5-1.6 billion range if the New England Sports Network (NESN) is included in the deal.

While that is a substantial amount of money, it would be nearly $500 million less than what the Los Angeles Dodgers were sold for earlier this year. 

Granted, all of this is very premature talk because it is still reportedly something that is only being discussed and not actively pursued at the moment.

The Fenway Sports Group has been at the helm of the franchise since 2002, overseeing the Red Sox's two World Series titles and six postseason berths during that stretch.


The latest in the sports world, emailed daily.