Los Angeles Lakers forward James lebron is one of the biggest stars in the sport, but he’s not only famous for his prowess on the basketball court.
Off the pitch, the man affectionately known as ‘King James’ diligently honed his business acumen and invested the wealth he gained through his NBA exploits into various businesses.
In addition to securing lucrative endorsements with brands such as Nike and negotiating smart deals with Beats Electronics, James also branched out into the Premier League after becoming a minority shareholder of Liverpool, one of the most successful teams in English football.
Goal takes a look at when the relationship was born, what it involves and more.
When did LeBron James get involved with Liverpool?
James’ involvement with Liverpool started in 2011 and it was born from its relationship with Fenway Sports Group (FSG).
Then playing with Miami Heat, he had formed a partnership with FSG – which had just bought Liverpool from George Gillett and Tom Hicks – which saw the group become its chief marketing agency. Part of the deal with FSG was that he had also acquired a minority stake in the Reds.
“I am delighted to work with [FSG founders] John Henry and Tom Werner, ”James said when the news broke.
“These guys, like me, have a passion for the sport. You can see the drive and commitment they have for their teams. For me, it’s about being in business with an organization that loves sport as much as me. “
James went on to compare Liverpool to the Dallas Cowboys, the New York Yankees and – perhaps annoyingly to Reds fans – Manchester United in terms of global brand appeal and signaled his intention to help them out. develop further.
“Whenever you have that much story and power behind their story, there is great potential to continue that expansion,” he said in an interview with the Guardian.
“Liverpool are definitely one of those clubs. They’re really like Man U – and the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees.
“There are teams and logos that you see, wherever you are in the world, and you know exactly who they are and what they mean. I see Liverpool in this group.”
How much is LeBron James’ participation in Liverpool worth?
James’ stake at Liverpool is said to be 2% and while that might not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it is turning out to be a very wise investment for him.
When he first acquired the 2% share of the Anfield club in 2011, it was estimated to be around $ 6.5million (£ 4.9million), but that number has grown significantly thanks to to the growing value of Liverpool.
In 2018, James’ part in the club was reported by ESPN worth $ 32million (£ 24million) and has continued to increase in subsequent years, having recently been valued at £ 37million ($ 51million) by KPMG.
– LeBron James (@KingJames) June 25, 2020
The steady increase in Liverpool’s value since James first became a minority shareholder is due to the club’s consistency on the pitch, which culminated with Champions League glory in 2019 and a Premier League crown. in 2020. The Reds were also crowned world champions after winning the FIFA club. World Cup.
Liverpool’s worth has been estimated at $ 1.9 billion (£ 1.4 billion) by Forbes in 2019, which at the time meant they were in the top 10 most valuable football clubs in the world. However, the value has since fallen, largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Is LeBron James going to Liverpool games?
Although not a regular sight at Anfield, James has seen Liverpool play, most notably in a derby match against Manchester United in 2011.
The iconic basketball player was dressed in a suit with a red and white tie and he had a Liverpool scarf draped around his neck, leaving no doubt as to his allegiance.
“Being at Anfield and seeing 40,000 fans screaming full force, the whole game, was an incredible experience for me,” he said after his visit to Merseyside.
On this occasion, James also visited the famous stadium, meeting Luis Suarez and Steven Gerrard, as well as club icon Kenny Dalglish.
He joked about meeting Dalglish: “King Kenny is something else! His accent is very strong. So it was very difficult to understand what he was saying.”
– LeBron James (@KingJames) June 1, 2019
He doesn’t necessarily attend games frequently, but James supports the club from afar – including tweeting his joy after the 2019 Champions League and 2020 Premier League triumphs – and has been pictured wearing Liverpool gear.
However, he risked the wrath of Reds fans in 2018 when he named Manchester United – not to mention Liverpool at all – as an example of “historic franchises” akin to the LA Lakers. Such a misstep suggests that owning part of Liverpool is strictly James’ business.