From guest blogger Kurt Scott:
LeBron James led the Miami Heat to a win on Sunday. Good for him. The bad news is that even the “Chosen One” finds himself in Walmart’s sphere of influence.
LeBron will be the first to tell you he’s a brand as well as a player. In fact, he owns his own marketing and branding agency, LRMR. Last year, LRMR announced a strategic partnership with Fenway Sports Management to help land overseas sponsorships for Mr. James. So it sounds like LeBron’s going global. Let’s just hope he won’t be accused of bribing any foreign officials, as Walmart has been recently.
At the helm of Fenway Sports is Managing Director Mark Lev, who spent fourteen years as an executive with the Boston Celtics, a team with Walmart connections. Walmart board member James Cash, Jr. is a minority owner of the Celtics. So is Jim Breyer, Walmart’s lead independent director.
By the way, just because the Celtics’ playoff run ended doesn’t mean Breyer’s forgotten Beantown. He’ll be speaking at the InterContinental Hotel in Boston on June 25, in case you’d like to say “Hi”.
But back to LeBron. He recently bought a minority ownership stake in English Premier League (EPL) soccer club Liverpool FC. Know who also has an EPL club? Stan Kroenke, husband of Walmart heiress Ann Walton Kroenke. Stan is a majority owner of Arsenal, as well as the Denver Nuggets, the Colorado Rockies (MLB), Colorado Avalanche (NHL), Colorado Mammoth (Lacrosse) and the St. Louis Rams (NFL).
And somehow, he still finds time to help out his wife’s family business. Kroenke is chairman of THF Realty, a real estate company that develops Walmart stores. He even tried to get us, the taxpayers, to pitch in with eight million in public subsidies to build a Walmart supercenter in Missouri. What a guy!
Kroenke’s been busy, but ask yourself this. Did he come out with fresh new sneakers to celebrate his soccer team like LeBron did? Eh. There’s still time.