One-time Red Sox general manager Theo Epstein is returning to the organization, taking part ownership of Fenway Sports Group and joining in the role of senior advisor, FSG will announce Friday morning.
“It’s a great honor, something I’m really excited about,” Epstein said in a video call. “It’s just exciting to be joining such a dynamic, groundbreaking company across multiple sports, doing so many innovative things at the cutting edge of everything going on in sports these days. For me, it’s perfect, I was looking for a pathway into ownership.”
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At Fenway, Epstein will work on sports initiatives across the business’ holdings, which include Liverpool FC, the Pittsburgh Penguins, RFK Racing, TGL’s Boston Common Golf and a recently acquired stake in the PGA Tour, in addition to the Red Sox.
Epstein leaves his role as a special consultant to MLB with the move to FSG, but he will continue to informally serve the league’s competition and on-field committees. The special advisor role is part time, allowing Epstein to continue as an operating partner to sports-focused private equity group Arctos Partners, which has an investment in FSG.
“The vision is about investing into blue chip brands—blue chip franchises, clubs and sports—that matter a great deal to their supporters and their fan bases,” Sam Kennedy, a partner in FSG and president/CEO of the Red Sox, said on a video call. “To have Theo as an advisor in that endeavor is a very unique opportunity, given all he’s done is win everywhere he’s gone.”
In New England, Epstein is best known for helping build the 2004 Red Sox club as general manager, a team beloved for breaking the 86-year-long championship drought and dramatically overcoming the archrival Yankees in doing so. In 2011, the executive left to head baseball operations at the Chicago Cubs, breaking that franchise’s 108-year title-less streak in 2016. More recently, he worked with MLB commissioner Rob Manfred to develop the rule changes that sped up games last season, as well helping Arctos identify potential investments.
On the baseball side, Epstein says he’ll act as a sounding board and executive coach, if needed, to the Red Sox baseball operations people. Notably, he hired Red Sox chief baseball officer Craig Breslow while at the Cubs. “I’m a full believer in him and what he and his team are going to mean for the Red Sox,” Epstein said of Breslow, who joined the Red Sox in October. “With the other sports, where I have a lot to learn, hopefully my experience not only with teams but with Major League Baseball and with private equity will come in handy, at least as a supportive resource for the people at FSG.”
According to Kennedy, the ownership group at Fenway has been looking to bring Epstein back to the organization for some time. “The reunion comes at a special time for us, as we’re looking to double down on winning in Boston, in Liverpool, in Pittsburgh and now with the PGA Tour,” Kennedy said. “Helping us think through people issues, investment issues, league matters, new opportunities—it’s really an investment into Fenway Sports Group. Theo is trusted here.”
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