While the wait may still be going on for the confirmation of the acquisition of the Pittsburgh Penguins NHL ice hockey team, Liverpool owners Fenway Sports Group are already eyeing other potential moves.

FSG are set to acquire the Penguins in a deal that sees the team valued at around $875m (£656m), with both the FSG board and board of the Penguins having approved the sale unanimously and signed sale agreements, per the Boston Globe, the continued wait linked to the NHL board of governors giving the green light to the sale, which is expected to be a formality.

That would increase the value of the FSG portfolio to around the £8bn mark, with Liverpool, the Boston Red Sox baseball team, the RFK Racing NASCAR outfit, Fenway Sports Management, Fenway Sports Group Retail and the NESN regional sports TV network all part of John Henry's business empire.

The Penguins would become FSG's fourth professional sports team, and their first takeover in sport since their acquisition of Liverpool from Tom Hicks and George Gillett back in 2010.

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It arrives on the back of the $750m investment from RedBird Capital Partners back in March, with Gerry Cardinale's private equity firm having taken an 11 per cent stake in the overall FSG operation. The capital was designed to be used for infrastructure development, such as work being undertaken in Liverpool with the Anfield Road End redevelopment and the major work taking place with real estate in Boston that surrounds the Red Sox's Fenway Park home.

The Penguins deal offers a number of enticing propositions, not least the media rights deal in excess of £3bn over the next seven years, real estate opportunities near the PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh and a team that has major popularity in both social media reach and local viewership on regional cable TV. The Penguins are a storied franchise who have won ice hockey's most coveted prize, the Stanley Cup, twice in the past five years.

But this is 'FSG 3.0' as Sam Kennedy, Red Sox president and FSG partner noted earlier this year. More teams is what they seek and even before the Penguins deal was on the table they were looking at the potential of more European football clubs and also NBA franchises.

The ECHO has reported previously on FSG's desire to add an NBA team to their portfolio in the future, especially with the valuations being far lower than the cost prohibitive nature of acquiring a team in the NFL, where the bumper $100bn media deal over the next decade has seen valuations soar even higher, with every one of the 32 teams worth in excess of $1.5bn.

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But a deal for another team could happen more swiftly than possibly first anticipated, with US website Axios, who broke the story at the beginning of 2021 around the collapse of the FSG/RedBall SPAC deal, claiming that an NBA team is on the shopping list for FSG in 2022.

The report claims that as soon as the Penguins deal is finalised, which was expected to be earlier this week but may now take a few more days for approval from the NHL, FSG will start to look towards its targets in basketball's biggest league. And with basketball icon LeBron James an FSG partner, holding a one per cent stake in the overall empire, and also having designs on becoming involved with team ownership when his playing career comes to an end, FSG already have some pretty big pieces of a potential puzzle already in the building.

Only last month FSG strengthened their ties with James and his business partner Maverick Carter, investing alongside RedBird and Nike into James and Carter's SpringHill Entertainment business, a firm valued at around $725m.

James is expected to become a key figure within FSG moving forward, and if the Liverpool owners do decide to press the button on an NBA franchise next year then it seems logical that they would seek to have James, 36, play a significant role in shaping the future of any acquisition through his standing in the sport, his global appeal and his flourishing career as a business mogul in his own right.

But for any acquisition to take place there would need to be a significant outlay.

The most recent takeover in the NBA, for the Utah Jazz, saw the team sold for $1.3bn last year. The most recent Forbes valuations of NBA franchises show the lowest at that same value, the Memphis Grizzlies, while another five teams are valued at $1.5bn or less. At $3.2bn and the fifth most expensive in the NBA, the Boston Celtics price may prove a little too steep for FSG to add another Boston club their ranks.

One of FSG's stakeholders, Arctos Partners, a firm where Henry's former Red Sox protege Theo Epstein plays a key role, took a 17 per cent stake in the Sacramento Kings NBA team earlier this year in a deal worth around $306m (£223m).

The Axios report also claims that FSG were interested in the Boston Bruins NHL team but the owners, Jeremy Jacobs' Delaware North Companies, had no desire to sell the team.