The Red Sox they were faded for several decades. You had to dust off the calendar to see their most glorious anecdotes between 1903 and 1918, when Babe Ruth was still part of their ranks. But a second era of splendor came 86 years later with the 2004 World Series championship and continues to this day. This awakening is behind the economic momentum of Fenway Sports Group.
This group was born in 2001 by the initiative of the American businessman John W. Henry, whose fortune is estimated at 3.6 billion dollars (Forbes) and, in fact, has been built based on its sports emporium, since it currently owns not only the Boston Red Sox Major League Baseball, but also Premier League Liverpool FC, the latter’s stadium, Anfield Road, and a Nascar Series racing team (Roush Fenway Racing).
Before getting involved in sports, Henry (Illinois, September 13, 1949) built his capital only with John W. Henry & Company, an investment management company that he created when he was 32 years old. He is recognized in the United States as a ‘self-made millionaire’ because before opening his company he began trading basic products such as corn, which his parents knew how to work. It was his main source of income after not completing his professional studies in philosophy at the University of California.
The history of Henry and baseball began when he was nine years old, listening to radio broadcasts from his beloved St. Louis Cardinals. Already in the 90s he bought a small stake in the New York Yankees (1991) and became the sole owner of the Florida Marlins in 1999, which he sold in 2002 to be able to buy the Red Sox with his group, at that time called New England Sports Ventures (NESV).
His first partner in the group and with whom he bought the Red Sox is fellow businessman Tom Werner: “Tom and I are like brothers, we talk every day about ideas on how to improve everything, even the length of the grass on the field”, he even mentioned Henry to MLB.
At present, the group is made up of 27 partners, although Henry is the majority shareholder with 40% of the ownership, while only in April of this year, the capital company RedBird acquired 11% for 750 million dollars, launching to Fenway Sports Group at a total valuation of $ 7.35 billion. Also on that date, basketball player LeBron James joined as one of the shareholders.
The managerial stability of the Red Sox was immediately noticeable in finances and the diamond. According to the annual Forbes rankings for the last five years, the team has increased its brand value by 51% and in 2021 it is considered the 20th club in the list of the most valuable in the world, surpassing the Chicago Cubs (MLB), Green Bay Packers (NFL) and to Chelsea and PSG in soocer.
As for sports, the Red Sox They have won five division titles, four of the American League and four also of the World Series since 2004, being totally effective since each that they have won the American pennant they have also taken the overall MLB title, both in 2004 and in 2007, 2013 and 2018. This year they already managed to advance to another league final against the Houston Astros, after leaving out their bitter rivals, the New York Yankees, and to Tampa Bay Rays.
“I certainly relate to the fans because I’ve been one of them my entire life. Winning a World Series is not a choice, it is my role and my obligation to Boston. When you bid for the Red Sox, the challenge you are taking on is nothing less than winning the World Series, ”said John W. Henry upon purchasing the franchise in 2002 and has since completed four championships after the 86-year drought.
In addition, Henry and his partners have also created and funded the Red Sox Foundation, considered by the official portal of Major League Baseball as “the charity that has become the largest and fastest growing in the MLB”, as it has won awards such as ‘Best Sports Charity’ from the Foundation Robert Wood Johnson in 2009 and 2010 was recognized with the ‘MLB Commissioner’s Award for Philanthropic Excellence’ for the launch of Red Sox Scholars, a scholarship program that has benefited more than 288 Boston public school students.
According to figures from the own MLB, the Red Sox Foundation has also donated to more than 1,780 organizations, provided more than 21,000 war veterans and their families with treatment and care in the ‘Home Base’ program, and helped the Jimmy Fund raise more than $ 146 million for treatment and research at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
As if that were not enough, on the other side of the ocean, Liverpool FC won their first Premier League title since 1990 in 2020 and the Champions League in 2019 after a 14-year drought, with a generation of luxury players such as Mohamed Salah and Virgil. Van Djik, as well as coach Jurgen Klopp.
Fenway Sports Group also owns a majority stake in the New England Sports Network, the most powerful state telecommunications network, as well as the Boston Globe, New England’s largest newspaper.
Inside the diamond, in fall 2021 they will live their fifth American League final within this century and if they win the title the Red Sox would tie the Oakland Athletics as the second most winning team in this league with 15, still far from the 40 of the Yankees.
However, the potential of Boston in recent years is different, because together with St. Louis Cardinals (National League) are the only teams that have achieved four league pennants from 2004 to date, while in terms of World Series championships only come close to Giants with three in the same period, one less than the Red Sox.
“Fenway Sports Group was started two decades ago and I think we have a lot of knowledge and experience in creating and launching new businesses, both in sports and in entertainment and media,” Tom Werner, partner and infallible friend of John W. Henry, who started dreaming about this story when he was nine years old and listened to the radio.