Liverpool's pursuit of additional investment has received a potential boost as Liberty Media, the company that owns Formula One, has expressed interest in investing in the Premier League.
Liberty Media, renowned for its ownership of the Atlanta Braves, made headlines in 2017 with its acquisition of Formula One for a reported $8 billion. The company's investment in the sport has since flourished, fueled in part by the success of Netflix's Drive to Survive series, which has attracted a new fanbase to Formula One. Liverpool's owners, Fenway Sports Group, have shown openness to bringing in new shareholders, and a partnership with Liberty Media could provide the desired investment.
Since Fenway Sports Group's takeover led by John W. Henry in 2010, Liverpool has relied on strategic recruitment and player sales in the face of significant spending by rival clubs such as Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, and now Newcastle United.
According to Forbes, Liberty Media has become the largest sports ownership empire globally, with a valuation of $20.8 billion (£16.35 billion). CEO Greg Maffei has outlined the company's aspirations for continued expansion, including interest in investing in the Premier League.
In an interview with the Walker Webcast, Maffei stated, "We like to buy for a fair price then hopefully build value. The demonstrated success of Formula One, we now have... a reputation. There isn't an asset we haven't looked at, including Premier League teams. We do think sports in general is attractive, and we believe there are upsides and lessons that can be applied in other sports situations."
Liberty Media's interest in the Premier League brand suggests the possibility of an investment in Liverpool. The club's owners have shown willingness to explore deals that could further enhance the progress made under Fenway Sports Group's ownership. While owner John W. Henry previously stated that Liverpool was not for sale, he confirmed ongoing discussions with potential investors.
Although Manchester United is also seeking new owners, with the Glazer family looking to sell their stake, the influx of state-owned clubs like Manchester City and Newcastle United has made private ownership in football increasingly challenging to sustain. Against this backdrop, Liverpool's owners released a statement in November expressing their openness to new investment, emphasising that they would consider new shareholders if it benefited the club.
The statement read, "There have been a number of recent changes of ownership and rumours of changes in ownership at EPL clubs, and inevitably we are asked regularly about Fenway Sports Group’s ownership in Liverpool. FSG has frequently received expressions of interest from third parties seeking to become shareholders in Liverpool. FSG has said before that under the right terms and conditions, we would consider new shareholders if it was in the best interests of Liverpool as a club. FSG remains fully committed to the success of Liverpool, both on and off the pitch."