On December 20, 2001, John Henry, Tom Werner, Larry Lucchino and a group of investors successfully outbid competitors to purchase the Red Sox, Fenway Park and 80% of the New England Sports Network (NESN) from the Jean R. Yawkey Trust and its trustee John L. Harrington. Major League Baseball approved the sale on January 16, 2002, and the sale closed on February 27, 2002.
Henry became Principal Owner of the Club, Werner the Chairman and Lucchino was named President/CEO. Each had experience in Major League Baseball before becoming stewards of the Red Sox: Henry as a minority owner of the New York Yankees and sole owner of the Florida Marlins; Werner as owner of the San Diego Padres; and Lucchino with the Baltimore Orioles and San Diego Padres.
Henry is a lifelong baseball fan who grew up in the Midwest listening to St. Louis Cardinals games on the radio. He often refers to baseball as an "affair of the heart" and is known throughout the game as an involved and passionate owner. He currently serves as Chairman of John W. Henry & Company, Inc. (JWH), which he founded in 1981, and is a leader in alternative asset financial product innovation.
Werner, who spent time in the Boston area as a college student and was captivated by the Red Sox' "Impossible Dream" season of 1967, is a television producer and executive who is a member of the National Broadcast Hall of Fame. After starting his television career at ABC, Werner helped create such landmark shows as "The Cosby Show," "A Different World" and "That '70s Show."
Lucchino became a sports executive after his mentor and friend, the legendary sportsman and trial attorney Edward Bennett Williams, recruited him to be general counsel to the Washington Redskins. When Williams bought the Orioles in 1979, Lucchino was named their general counsel and, in 1988, Williams named Lucchino president of the ballclub.
After Henry, Werner, Lucchino and their partners were chosen as the winning group to buy the Red Sox, Principal Owner John Henry called it "a new day", and the new owners immediately set an ambitious agenda for the club in the form of five commitments:
- To field a team worthy of the fans' support
- To preserve all that's good about Fenway Park and to take that experience to a higher level
- To market aggressively to a new, broad region
- To be active participants in the community
- To end the Curse of the Bambino and win World Championships for Boston, New England and Red Sox Nation.
To fulfill these goals, the ownership and front office immediately set out to improve the Club both on and off the field. Within three years, the Red Sox ended their 86-year long championship drought by finally winning the World Series in 2004, and then repeating in 2007. Henry, Werner, Lucchino and their partners also founded the Red Sox Foundation, which established itself as a cornerstone of the New England philanthropic community and has quickly become one of the largest charitable foundations in sports.
The Red Sox have engaged the greater New England community by reaching out to fans via caravans, road trips and town hall meetings throughout the region to strengthen the bond between the club and its fan base. The ownership has also marketed the Red Sox more aggressively, making the team one of the most recognized brands in the world of sports, and focused their attention on making Fenway Park accessible to as many fans as possible year-round.
The group led by Henry, Werner and Lucchino were the only group of investors who advocated saving and improving the team's historic home, Fenway Park. Once they assumed control of the club, the ownership embarked on an extensive plan to upgrade every facet of the ballpark and, on March 23, 2005, Henry, Werner and Lucchino announced that the Club was formally committing to remain at Fenway Park for the long-term.
During a decade-long cycle of major annual improvements that began in 2002, the Club has completed construction projects such as the Green Monster Seats, Right Field Roof Deck, EMC Club, State Street Pavilion, the Big Concourse, the Third Base Concourse and many other structural and fan-friendly upgrades to the facility.
The "Year X Improvements" to Fenway Park, completed for the 2011 Red Sox season, represent the final installment of the 10-year plan and were highlighted by the addition of three new high definition video boards, the conclusion of repair to the lower seating bowl and the creation of the new Home Plate Concourse. With these enhancements, the investment for the ten-year program totals approximately $285 million, the largest capital investment in the history of the iconic ballpark.
Today, Fenway Park is well positioned to remain active as "America's Most Beloved Ballpark" for decades to come and the Red Sox organization as a whole continues to have a bright future under the stewardship of its current owners.
Current Red Sox Ownership
Principal Owner: John W. Henry
Chairman: Thomas C. Werner
President/Chief Executive Officer: Larry Lucchino
Vice Chairmen: David Ginsberg, Phillip H. Morse
General Counsel: Ed Weiss
Theodore Alfond - John A. Kaneb - Arthur E. Nicholas
William Alfond - Seth Klarman - Frank Resnek
Thomas R. DiBenedetto - Henry McCance - Martin Trust
Michael Egan - New York Times Co. - Jeffrey Vinik
Michael Gordon - (Jim Lessersohn) - Herb Wagner