FSG’s spending record with the Boston Red Sox and what it could mean for Liverpool transfers


When Fenway Sports Group bought the Boston Red Sox in 2002, the group was tasked with turning the tide and ending a World Series drought that was quickly approaching a century. The league title drought at Anfield was not as pronounced, even though the 30-year wait felt like a century for anxious Liverpool fans. The Reds and Red Sox may not play the same sport, but shared ownership has seen them borrow principles from each other.

For this reason, it is worth considering how the Fenway Sports group responded to the team’s first World Series in 2004. For context, Major League Baseball, like most American sports, operates with a cap. salary. This is not, however, a strict salary cap and allows teams to exceed this limit on condition of paying what is called a “luxury tax” which was first implemented in 2003.

Red Sox player spending in 2004 were $ 139 million, while the threshold for 2004 was set at $ 120.5 million. Unsurprisingly, the threshold has only increased since then and has seen a year-over-year rise until 2010 when it hit $ 170 million. It stopped in 2011 when the threshold didn’t change until 2014, when it went from $ 178 million to $ 189 million.

A similar three-year period followed before returning to a year-over-year increase in 2017, reaching $ 210 million in 2020.

Analyzing the data on annual Red Sox spending provides interesting reading. Although it rose to $ 154 million in 2005, it actually dropped the following year to $ 146 million in 2006. The following year the team won the World Series again, and its spending climbed to $ 199 million.

There was a subsequent drop in 2008 to $ 165 million and another drop to $ 145 million in 2009. Between 2010 and 2014, the team’s expenses fluctuated between $ 187 million and $ 182 million, the highest point being reached in 2011, reaching 191 million dollars. The year the team won their third World Series, 2013, the team’s expenses were down. They sat down at $ 186 million, up from $ 190 million the year before.

By 2015, the Red Sox’s payroll had surpassed the $ 200 million mark, and after falling from $ 208 million in 2015 to $ 205 million in 2016. After a slight increase to $ 209 million, the The following year, things exploded in 2018 to $ 247 million before dropping in 2019 to $ 246 million. It was in 2018 that the Red Sox won their fourth World Series title under FSG – four titles in less than twenty years.

Overall, it paints an interesting picture for Liverpool fans. Although spending increased during the season following the team’s first world title in 2004, this trend has not continued. In 2008, 2014 and 2019, the team’s payroll actually declined following a previous successful year.

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This may provide some insight into why the Reds have spent conservatively this year as they seek to balance the books following their success. Nor is it unfair to portray FSG as an organization that will display bold ambition.

In 2007 and 2013, the team’s spending increased dramatically, increasing by $ 53 million in 2007 and $ 38 million in 2019. This may explain why Liverpool were ready to sanction mega-deals for Virgil van Dijk and Alisson Becker, and indicates a club deliberately careful about spending and when to release funds.

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Overall spending has been on the rise during FSG’s tenure in charge of the Red Sox, but part of this will be due to inflation, while the increase in the salary cap threshold is also a key factor that will not apply. not in Liverpool.

For concerned fans, however, they shouldn’t be. The club’s diligent and methodical approach to team building (or roster building in baseball) means the plan and strategy is clear to them. This can sometimes mean that the club is making reactive decisions, but it feeds into a bigger plan for the club.


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