LeBron James joins Liverpool
United States basketball star LeBron James has become a minority stakeholder in Liverpool after signing a representation deal with club owners Fenway Sports Group.
The Wall Street Journal claims that FSG has struck a deal to partner the Miami Heat player's sports-marketing firm, LRMR Branding & Marketing, to become his exclusive worldwide representative.
The newspaper said Maverick Carter, chief executive of LRMR, had expressed his desire to build James' portfolio internationally and find opportunities for him to gain equity in companies throughout the world as his commercial interests have largely been limited to sponsorship and endorsement deals.
The report also said James received an undisclosed minority stake in Liverpool as part of the deal.
''We're not interested in talent or athlete representation but we think he is one of the most remarkable athletes of his time,'' FSG - and Liverpool - chairman Tom Werner told the paper. ''We believe we can open doors for LeBron and LeBron can open doors for us.
''Without purchasing Liverpool, we never would have been able to have this conversation.''
James, 26, said: ''The first time I stepped on an NBA court I became a businessman. This is a great opportunity for me.''
Referring to Liverpool's title honours James added: ''Eighteen championships. I see myself trying to do the same things they have.''
James is also going into business with the Boston Red Sox, as FSG is also the parent company of the Red Sox and a co-owner of Roush Fenway Racing.
"What FSM does for Roush Fenway, Liverpool and the Red Sox, we will now do for LeBron James," Fenway Sports Marketing (a sister company of FSG) president Sam Kennedy said. "We will aggressively pursue business opportunities for him.
"We are fortunate to have blue-chip brands like the Red Sox, Liverpool and Roush Fenway. This represents the next step in our evolution, to represent one of the most recognizable athletes on the planet."