Red Sox team up with local analytics company to optimize start times of games at Fenway Park

In an effort to optimize the start times of games at Fenway Park, the Red Sox have recently teamed up with Boston-based analytics company Recentive, according to Sports Business Journal.

The Red Sox will become the first Major League Baseball team to join forces with Recentive, as the two sides reached agreement on a multi-year deal last month. The company has previously worked with organizations such as the National Football League and United States Tennis Association.

By forming a partnership with Recentive, the Red Sox are aiming to maximize
their local television ratings through start time variation. Red Sox games are broadcasted locally by NESN, which — like the club — is a subsidiary of Fenway Sports Group.

Coming into the 2022 season, the Red Sox are slated to play 81 regular season home games at Fenway Park. During the week, the majority of those contests are scheduled to begin at 7:10 p.m. eastern time. During the weekend, most Saturday games will start at 4 p.m. while most Sunday games will start at 1 p.m. ET.

In a conversation with Erik Bacharach of Sports Business Journal, Recentive CEO Andy Tabrizi emphasized that weekend games will be of particular interest since they represent the biggest opportunity for growth when it comes to ratings.

The foundation of Recentive’s relationship with the Red Sox will be granting the club access to “an on-demand, real-time web app that processes about 1,200 different data sources, all of which concern any start times for games on NESN.”

Any changes Boston implements to their schedule likely won’t come this year, but rather in 2023. The Sox previously experimented with the start times of their home games in 2020, moving the majority of them back to 7:30 p.m. during the pandemic-shortened campaign.

That decision proved to be an ineffective one, but Red Sox vice president of data, intelligence, and analytics Jonathan Hay remains optimistic about what’s to come in 2022 and beyond.

“It’s mid-January, so even if we sort of identify some spots, people have
already bought tickets, we’ve got calendars already printed and things
like that,” Hay said last month. “So I think we’d hopefully do a couple of things this year just to be able to test some things out.”

(Picture of Fenway Park: Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)

Red Sox parent company Fenway Sports Group in ‘advanced talks’ to buy NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins, per report

Fenway Sports Group is reportedly in advanced talks to purchase the National Hockey League’s Pittsburgh Penguins, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Cara Lombardo and Laine Higgins.

Per Lombardo and Higgins, the terms being discussed have yet to be disclosed, but “a deal could be finalized later this week, assuming the talks don’t fall apart.”

Owned and operated by Red Sox principal owner John Henry since it was founded in 2021, Fenway Sports Group is the parent company of the Boston Red Sox, Fenway Park, Liverpool Football Club, Fenway Sports Management, FSG Real Estate, Roush Fenway Keselowski Racing, and the New England Sports Network.

As noted by Lombardo and Higgins, RedBird Capital Partners — an investment firm launched by investor Gerry Cardinale and Oakland Athletics executive Billy Beane — agreed to invest $750 million into Fenway Sports Group in exchange for an 11% ownership stake in the company earlier this year.

Around that same time, Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James joined FSG as a partner, and The Boston Globe reported that Henry and Co. were looking to add other North American and European sports franchises to their portfolio.

It now appears that the Penguins are at least one of those franchises, as Lombardo and Higgins report that the team’s owners — namely Hockey Hall of Famer Mario Lemieux and investor Ron Burkle — were interested in selling.

The Lemieux and Burkle-led group has owned the Penguins since 1999. They lifted the team out of bankruptcy upon purchasing and have seen them win three Stanley Cups since then.

That said, the Penguins were recently valued by Sportico at $845 million, which ranks 15th among the 32 NHL teams.

According to MassLive.com’s Chris Cotillo, “it’s unclear how much Fenway Sports Group is paying for the team or how many limited partners are staying on.”

In other words, more will likely be revealed as the sale nears its completion, so stay tuned for that.

(Picture of Linda Pizzuti Henry, John Henry, and Tom Werner: Winslow Townson/Getty Images)

NBA star LeBron James to become part-owner of Red Sox after joining Fenway Sports Group as partner

Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James is set to become a part-owner of the Boston Red Sox, according to The Boston Globe’s Michael Silverman.

Per Silverman, James was recently introduced as one of Fenway Sports Group’s newest partners and “now owns an undisclosed amount of FSG shares after previously holding an approximately 2 percent share of the Liverpool soccer franchise since 2011.”

Fenway Sports Group, which is operated by Red Sox principal owner John Henry, owns the likes of the Red Sox, Liverpool Football Club, Fenway Park, Roush Fenway Racing, Fenway Sports Management, and NESN.

By joining FSG as a partner, James, 36, now becomes a part-owner of the Red Sox as well as those previously listed subsidiaries.

Sliverman adds that Maverick Carter, James’ longtime friend and business partner, is also becoming a partner in FSG, making the pair the first Black partners in the company’s history.

This all comes as FSG recently “approved a $750 million private investment that would make RedBird Capital Partners its third-largest partner,” Silverman writes.

While this deal has been approved by FSG, it also needs to be approved by Major League Baseball, which, as Silverman notes, “could take several weeks.”

With the addition of James’ brand value and RedBird’s financial muscle, FSG could very well expand its portfolio by adding on to its already extensive list of properties.

Silverman reports that FSG — which was recently valued by Forbes at $6.6 billion —  is currently interested in acquiring “NFL and NBA franchises, another European soccer club, NHL, MLS, WNBA, and NWSL teams, plus sports betting, esports, and data analytics companies.”

(Picture of LeBron James: Aaron Ontiveroz/MediaNews Group/The Denver Post via Getty Images)

Red Sox Owner John Henry in Talks With Acquisition Firm To Take Fenway Sports Group Public

Want to own a share of the Red Sox? Well, according to The Wall Street Journal’s Cara Lombardo and Miriam Gottfried, that could become a realistic possibility relatively soon.

Per Lombardo and Gottfried, Red Sox principal owner John Henry is in preliminary talks with blank-check firm RedBall Acquisition Corp. to take Fenway Sports Group public.

The plan would be for RedBall to raise $1 billion in funds that would coincide with the $575-plus million the firm raised over the summer. With those funds, RedBall in turn would be able to purchase a stake in FSG which would be worth no more than 25% of the company.

Because talks between the two sides are still ongoing, it is worth mentioning that this deal could fall apart. If talks do not fall through, though, the Red Sox could become one of the few publicly traded American sports franchises. The NFL’s Green Bay Packers are a prime example of one.

Henry, who turned 71 last month, originally purchased the Red Sox for $660 million in February 2002. Since that time, Henry has seen his club end an 86-year championship drought and win four World Series titles.

According to Forbes, the Red Sox are currently worth $3.3 billion, while Fenway Sports Group, which includes the Sox, Liverpool Football Club, Fenway Park, and New England Sports Network, is worth a total of $6.6 billion.

FSG going public with RedBall would reportedly raise its value to approximately $8 billion including debt. For more details on this, I would recommend checking out the above tweet.