When a group of investors led by futures trader John Henry took over the Boston Red Sox, it didn't take them long to realize that the marketing principles applied to the Sox could easily be applied to other sports. They decided to expand the scope of their interests to other sports related ventures. The first of those ventures was Nascar, when, in 2007, the Fenway Sports Group acquired a 50% interest in Roush Racing, which became Roush Fenway Racing.

Fenway didn't stop there. The group has acquired the a minor league baseball franchise, the Salem Avalanche and I would expect them to acquire additional minor league franchises as the opportunities present themselves. However, it is the Fenway Sports Group's latest deal that has attracted media interest. The group has acquired the marketing rights to the Professional Bull Riders, the world's top bull riding circuit. I bet you didn't know there was more than one.

Fenway's stated reasons [1] for doing this deal are interesting as they say a lot about their vision for their company. "I see PBR poised in a similar fashion to Nascar 10-plus years ago," says Brian Corcoran, executive vice president for FSG, which has received raves for transforming the Red Sox into a national marketing juggernaut. "PBR has a talented team that has done a good job cultivating relationships with a few blue-chip companies, but they are underdeveloped from a corporate-sponsorship perspective."

PBR is seen on the same networks that brings you the lost major league North American sport, the National Hockey League. It has a few national sponsors, but nothing comparable to what it should have given the sport's following and the number of people that show up at competitions or watch on television, especially taking into account the difficulty in finding the broadcasts. In short, a true diamond in the rough, exactly what Henry believed the Red Sox were when he bought them. When a sport whose primary appeal is to working class young males does not even have a national sponsor in the beer category, there is substantial opportunity and significant money to be made.

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