Sunday, October 17, 2010

Lads From Liverpool

News that John Henry, or at least the New England Sports Ventures Company, wanted to buy The Liverpool Football Club has raised some questions here in Red Sox Nation. Most important, what does this mean for the Red Sox. Anything? Some have wondered if the Red Sox are now owned by a large corporation, and not a guy who loves baseball. And that’s a valid point. With so many “toys” will John Henry get tired of playing with the Red Sox? With two titles under his belt, will he divert funds to his racing or soccer team to help them succeed as well? I, obviously, have no idea. I know that the bookkeeping done inside a large corporation can make just about anything look they way they want it to look. So, will money that used to go to the Red Sox go to Liverpool? Maybe. But, I’d think this would also be a huge opportunity for the entire NESV family.

Not too long ago, the Yankees entered into an agreement with Manchester United. Obviously, it was a partnership between two of the biggest names in sports, worldwide. If I remember correctly, the agreement was fairly basic. They both agreed to promote each other, and sell each other’s merchandise in their fan shops. Not a big burden. But, I can only imagine, one that benefited each club. It’s especially interesting from the Yankees standpoint. They don’t get the money directly from every Yankees hat sold. It is filtered somehow through MLB. So, there wasn’t even the direct monetary bump. But, they both entered the deal, and I can only assume, have profited from it. What if the Red Sox now did a similar thing?

When I think of large corporations that “get it,” I think of two. Martha Stewart, and Walt Disney. Martha Stewart knew exactly how to cross-promote her businesses to the maximum profit. Her magazine promoted her clothing line, which was sold in a store that sold her magazine, which promoted her TV show, which promoted her clothing line and magazine. It was an amazing cycle. And, she earned billions from it. The Walt Disney Company is just as good at that. They’re even better, really, because they own more. So, their television station can have a show that advertises their theme park, which promotes their movies, which sell their books, which are sold in their retail stores, which sell cruise tickets, and on, and on, and on. (It’s amazing really. Take a look sometime at all the stuff the Walt Disney Company owns.)

So, now, does the NESV get to do things like that? When the Bruins played the Winter Classic at Fenway, suddenly you could buy Bruins garb at the Park. Now, things can get interesting. I know that a lot of this stuff is technically under different company names…but I think it all points to John Henry at some point. So, NESN can now promote the racing team, the baseball team, and the soccer team. Why not devote a rack at the Red Sox team store to Liverpool garb? Does Liverpool play in the next soccer game at Fenway? Does it become an annual event? Do the Red Sox or LFC find their logo on a racecar? Do the Red Sox sponsor the Liverpool, and get their name on the jerseys? Do the concerts at Fenway promote the various teams? Do cd’s put out by Fenway music end up in Liverpool stores now? The possibilities are endless.

I guess, as a Red Sox fan, I think it could all be a lot of fun as long as the Sox don’t suffer. Since John Henry is such a lifelong baseball fan, I feel confident that the Sox will remain his first love. As long as the control of all the clubs doesn’t fall to a board of directors at some point, that is only interested in profits. Otherwise, bring on the cross-promotion.

Although, it would be nice if it was subtle.

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