Is Boston Red Sox owner John Henry looking to increase his investment in NASCAR?
According to Bloomberg, Henry is “exploring” buying a piece of the auto racing series. Reports emerged in 2018 that the France family, which owns NASCAR, was looking at selling off at least a part of the sanctioning body.
The Bloomberg report cites anonymous sources and says neither Fenway Sports Group nor NASCAR would comment on the record. Henry’s Fenway Sports Group also owns English Premier League team Liverpool and has a stake in longtime NASCAR team Roush Fenway Racing.
NASCAR is in a state of flux. The series is dealing with falling attendance and television ratings and is eyeing possible changes to the Cup Series schedule in 2020 and beyond. The sanctioning body also has made significant changes to the cars for the Cup Series in 2019 with the goal of producing closer racing and, in public theory, drawing more manufacturers into the series.
Despite the diminishing audience, NASCAR is still locked into a lucrative television rights contract with Fox and NBC through 2024.
News of potential sale broke in May
Reuters and CNBC reported in May that NASCAR had started to work with Goldman Sachs to search for investors for the series. A NASCAR spokesperson didn’t deny the reports at the time.
NASCAR CEO Brian France said over the summer that there was “nothing to report” regarding a sale of at least part of the series. France is now on an indefinite leave of absence after his DWI and possession of a controlled substance arrest in August.
France has been replaced by his uncle Jim as the CEO of NASCAR. Jim France and Lesa France Kennedy, Brian’s sister and the granddaughter of NASCAR founder Bill France, Sr., own the controlling stake in the series.
Lesa France Kennedy is also the chairwoman of the board of International Speedway Corporation, a publicly-owned track ownership company that was founded by NASCAR. ISC owns tracks like Daytona International Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway. NASCAR said in November that it was offering to buy ISC to privatize it and bring it under the France family umbrella.
Henry worth over $2 billion
In addition to owning the Red Sox, Liverpool and Roush Fenway Racing, Henry also owns the Boston Globe. He purchased the Miami Marlins in 1999 and sold the team to now-former owner Jeffrey Loria in 2002 shortly before purchasing the Red Sox.
Fenway Sports Group purchased Liverpool in 2010 and also owns a controlling stake in the regional sports network NESN.
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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.
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