LeBron James to attend Liverpool match
For the first time since he became a minority owner of Liverpool Football Club in the English Premier League in April, LeBron James will be in the crowd this weekend at iconic Anfield to see the team play.
The Miami Heat forward tweeted Thursday that he had arrived in England and later confirmed to ESPN.com that he'll be attending Liverpool's home game Saturday morning against longtime rival Manchester United.
Saturday's game, televised live on ESPN2 at 7:40 a.m. ET, is the first meeting between the two English giants since Manchester United won the league championship in May and passed Liverpool as the winningest club in the country's history. United has won 19 titles in England's top flight to Liverpool's 18.
"Yeah, I'm going for sure!" James told ESPN The Magazine's Chris Broussard Thursday night. "Wouldn't miss this one! Biggest game in the world probably."
In April, as part of an agreement with Fenway Sports Group to become the sole marketer of his rights globally, James and manager Maverick Carter were installed as minority shareholders in Liverpool, which ranked as England's most renowned club globally in the 1970s and 1980s but hasn't won the league title since 1990.
Liverpool was purchased in October 2010 by John W. Henry and the group that owns and operates the Boston Red Sox.
According to the Guardian newspaper in London, Liverpool's 3-1 defeat of Manchester United last season attracted an estimated 500 million viewers worldwide, whereas the Super Bowl is watched by 20 million viewers outside of the United States.
"Just got to Liverpool, England," James tweeted Thursday. "Riding through the city. What a beautiful place. Home and birthplace of the One and Only 'BEATLES.' "
The Premier League season runs from August through May, which is virtually concurrent with the NBA calendar, but the league's ongoing lockout -- heading into its 106th day Friday -- has afforded James an opportunity to make an unexpected in-season visit to Anfield.
Marc Stein is a senior NBA writer for ESPN.com. Chris Broussard is a senior NBA writer for ESPN The Magazine.