Los Angeles Lakers power forward Lebron James He’s 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’ has been diligently honing his business acumen and investing the wealth he has acquired through his NBA exploits in a variety of ventures.
In addition to securing lucrative backing with brands like Nike and negotiating smart deals with companies like Beats Electronics, James has also branched out into the Premier League after becoming a minority shareholder in Liverpool, one of the most successful teams in English football.
Goal Take a look at when the relationship came about, what it entails, and more.
When did LeBron James get involved with Liverpool?
James’ involvement with Liverpool started in 2011 and grew out of his dealings with Fenway Sports Group (FSG).
Then, playing with the Miami Heat, he teamed up with FSG, which had just bought Liverpool from George Gillett and Tom Hicks, which made the group its main marketing agency. Part of the deal with FSG was that it 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 was announced.
“These guys, like me, have a passion for sports. You can see the drive and commitment they have to their teams. For me, it’s about being in business with an organization that loves sports as much as I do.”
James subsequently compared Liverpool to the Dallas Cowboys, New York Yankees and, perhaps annoyingly to Reds fans, Manchester United in terms of their global brand appeal and signaled his intention to help them grow even further.
“Every time you have so much history and so much power behind its history, there is great potential to continue that expansion,” he said in an interview with the guardian.
“Liverpool is definitely one of those clubs. They really are like Man U, and the Dallas Cowboys and the New York Yankees.
“There are some teams and logos that you see, no matter where in the world you are, and you know exactly who they are and what they mean. I see Liverpool in that group.”
James was later Joined the Liverpool-owned group by FSG in March 2021.
How much is LeBron James’ stake in Liverpool worth?
James’ stake in Liverpool is reported to be two percent and while that may not seem like much in the grand scheme of things, it is proving to be a very canny investment for him.
When he first acquired the two percent stake in the Anfield club in 2011, it was estimated to be worth roughly $ 6.5 million (£ 4.9 million), but that number has grown considerably thanks to Liverpool’s growing value.
In 2018, James’ participation in the club was reported by ESPN worth $ 32 million (£ 24 million) and continued to rise in subsequent years, having recently been valued at £ 37 million ($ 51 million) by KPMG.
– LeBron James (@KingJames) June 25, 2020
Liverpool’s steady rise in value since James first became a minority shareholder is due to the club’s consistency on the pitch, culminating in 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 value was estimated at $ 1.9 billion (£ 1.4 billion) per Forbes in 2019, which at the time meant they were among the top 10 most valuable soccer clubs in the world. However, the value has fallen since then, largely due to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Does LeBron James go to Liverpool games?
While not a regular sight at Anfield, James has gone to see Liverpool play, especially in a derby against Manchester United in 2011.
The iconic basketball player was outfitted in a suit with a red and white tie and had a Liverpool scarf wrapped around his neck, leaving no doubt where his allegiance lay.
“Being at Anfield and seeing 40,000 fans screaming at the top of their lungs, the whole game, was an incredible experience for me,” he said after his visit to Merseyside.
On that occasion James also took a tour of the famous stadium, meeting Luis Suárez 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 may not necessarily make it to matches often, but James is supporting the club from afar, particularly tweeting his joy after the 2019 Champions League and 2020 Champions League triumphs, and has been photographed wearing the Liverpool team.
However, he risked the ire of Reds fans in 2018 when he named Manchester United, without mentioning Liverpool at all, as an example of “historic franchises” similar to the Los Angeles Lakers. Such a misstep suggests that owning a piece of Liverpool is strictly a business for James.
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.