Two upsets 1,300 miles apart lit up European soccer’s most prestigious tournament on Tuesday night, one in Manchester and one in Rome. But the impact of those results, which stunned the soccer world, was felt by fans far beyond either city.
Specifically by a couple of Boston-based billionaires with a habit of buying sports teams: John W. Henry and James Pallotta.
Neither name is exactly chanted from the stands here in Europe, but without their investments, Tuesday night’s stunning results in the Champions League might never have happened. First, Henry’s Liverpool—the team he acquired in 2010 after helping to turn around the Boston Red Sox—knocked off the Premier League’s dominant force, Manchester City. Then, in Italy, Pallotta’s Roma stunned Spanish giant Barcelona, marking the club’s most significant result since he added it to a portfolio that also includes the Boston Celtics in 2011.
Between them, Henry and Pallotta have sunk over $1 billion into their respective clubs. But in European soccer, that is simply the price of doing business. Despite years of investment, this is the first time in either one of their tenures that their clubs have qualified for Europe’s final four. There, they can expect to meet perennial contenders Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, who are both in commanding positions in their own quarterfinals.
A Mad Night for European Soccer—and a Pair of Boston Owners https://t.co/DQmvW8O4vc
— Linda Pizzuti Henry (@Linda_Pizzuti) April 11, 2018