Callum Borchers' Blog

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NESV’s Liverpool FC bid reveals money drives Sox’ owners

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If Bob Kraft wasn’t already on John Henry and Larry Lucchino’s holiday greeting card list, he is now. News this morning that Patriots receiver Randy Moss has indeed been traded to his original team, the Minnesota Vikings, for a third-round draft pick has drawn all the anger Boston sports fans can muster. There just isn’t any leftover vitriol to direct elsewhere.

But if it were any other day, the rage would be aimed not at Foxborough but at Yawkey Way.

Also this morning, we learned New England Sports Ventures, the Henry-Lucchino group that owns the Red Sox, is poised to purchase the Liverpool Football Club of the English Premier League for $447 million. The club’s board of directors has approved the sale, though current owners Tom Hicks (who also owns Major League Baseball’s Texas Rangers) and George Gillett have not; a legal battle seems unavoidable.

Sox fans don’t care about that last part. What they do care about is winning, which their injury-riddled team managed to do 89 times this season, falling short of the playoffs for just the second time since Henry and Lucchino took over the franchise before the 2002 campaign.

And, supposedly, that’s what NESV cares about too: “Our portfolio of companies … are all committed to one common goal: winning,” the group wrote in a statement. “NESV wants to help bring back the culture of winning to Liverpool FC.”

There’s no denying the Sox — and their fans — have enjoyed tremendous success during the Henry-Lucchino era. They ended an 86-year hex by winning a World Series title in 2004 and added another in 2007.

But the Liverpool FC bid confirms that winning, while nice, is not NESV’s top priority. The bottom line is Henry and Luccino care most about, well, the bottom line.

Consider this year’s Red Sox squad: Everyone knew The Replacements could keep the team in contention in a brutal American League East only so long. Everyone knew that with so many starters on the disabled list for long stretches, the Sox would have needed to make a significant move before the trade deadline to preserve realistic postseason aspirations. And everyone thought the reason such a deal never materialized was because of money — or lack thereof.

That excuse is now obliterated. If NESV can afford a $447 million soccer team, it certainly could have afforded a $10-, $15- or $20-million baseball player.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with running a sports franchise like a business, but it’s disingenuous to tell fans winning comes first when, clearly, the wallet does.


Written by callumborchers

October 6, 2010 at 4:44 pm

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