The Boston Red Sox are vehemently denying rumours that the team is up for sale today.This morning Charlie Gasparino of Fox Business reported that owners John Henry and Fenway Sports Group are “mulling a potential sale.”
And on his podcast yesterday, Bill Simmons passed along an admittedly flimsy rumour that a friend “who knows things” told him about how owners are fielding offers for the team this offseason.
The team denied the reports, saying in a statement, “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.”
So why is the chatter there?
Basically, it all comes down to Liverpool — the legendary English Premier League club that Henry and FSG bought last season for $476 million.
Gasparino says the group lacks the resources to run to big sports franchises, and Simmons floated the idea that the owners are more interested in running Liverpool than they are the Sox at this point.
The ownership group invested heavily in players before the 2010-11 season. But that ended in disaster and now they are tightening up the purse strings.
So why shouldn’t we read too much into these rumours just yet?
It’s plausible, but the evidence looks really circumstantial. The second Henry bought Liverpool, it was easy to envision the the dual ownership situation as a zero sum game — where the owners could only spend time and money on one franchise if they sacrificed time and money on the other.
The only thing that has changed since 2010 is that the Sox are struggling and cutting costs.
But that doesn’t mean they are actually shopping the team. It’s just a scenario that looks conducive to a sale.
And here’s the money portion of Simmons’ podcast, which you should take with a hefty, hefty dose of salt since he acknowledges that it’s only a rumour:
“I have a friend who knows things, and this friend told me two weeks ago that the Red Sox are willing to get sold this winter … But I wouldn’t report that. This person laid out the case for the parallels between how they cut costs with Liverpool and they cut a ton of costs with the Red Sox. The fact the Red Sox owners are in a no-win situation now, they won their two World Series. They’ve kind of, I think people in Boston locally are on to them at this point. And the other thing is look at what John Henry does for a living. He takes declining assets and buys them when he thinks they’re going to become better assets and he flips them.”
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