Nov 24, 2021 - Economy

Scoop: Red Sox owner wants to buy an NBA team

Illustration of the Pittsburgh Penguin's logo skating away with cash trailing behind it.

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fenway Sports Group wants to buy an NBA team once it's done acquiring the NHL's Pittsburgh Penguins, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: FSG is pioneering a new sort of corporate sports ownership, buying up marquee franchises in different geographic markets.

  • FSG currently owns the The Boston Red Sox and a NASCAR team in the U.S., plus Liverpool F.C. in Europe. It also recently invested in Spring Hill Group, a content production firm co-founded by LeBron James and Maverick Carter (both of whom have small stakes in FSG).

Behind the scenes: A source close to the FSG/Penguins negotiations says that the sale price will be around $875 million, and adds that FSG would have been interested in buying the Boston Bruins were the club to have been available. The sellers are financier Ron Burkle and Penguins legend Mario Lemieux.

  • FSG first signaled its interest in buying an arena-based team while trying to solicit investors last year for an unsuccessful SPAC deal.
  • It now wants to add an NBA team to its portfolio, with expectations that it will seek out a target in 2022.

By the numbers: The most recent NBA team sale was the Utah Jazz to Qualtrics CEO Ryan Smith for $1.7 billion last year. The most recent NHL sale was the Arizona Coyotes for $300 million to real estate and media mogul Alex Meruelo.

  • FSG majority owner John Henry earlier this year sold an 11% stake to private equity firm RedBird Capital Partners at a $7.3 billion valuation.
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