Tom Werner, who has been involved in Major League Baseball for 30 years and whose love for the Red Sox spans more than five decades, has played a vital role in the team’s success on the field, the saving and restoration of Fenway Park, and its difference-making impact in the community. Werner began his baseball career as leader of the ownership group that purchased the San Diego Padres in 1990, and served as the club’s majority owner until December 22, 1994. He subsequently joined forces with John W. Henry and Larry Lucchino to acquire the Red Sox, the only bidders to make saving Fenway Park a cornerstone of their proposal. Together, they and their partners won the right to buy the team on December 20, 2001 and completed the purchase on February 27, 2002. Three years later, after substantial improvements to the ballpark, Werner, Henry, and Lucchino on March 23, 2005 pledged their long-term commitment to Fenway Park, inspiring major investment in the surrounding neighborhood and sparking a remarkable transformation. Because of their vision, Fenway Park in 2012 became the first ballpark to celebrate its 100th anniversary, and with over $300 million in renovations, its viability as “America’s Most Beloved Ballpark” has been assured for years to come. On the field, the Red Sox have enjoyed considerable success under Henry and Werner. Over their 20 years of ownership, the club has qualified for the Postseason 11 times, and Boston has won four World Series titles – 2004, 2007, 2013, and 2018 – in the last 18 seasons. While each championship holds significance, the most recent capped the winningest season in club history as Boston recorded a franchise-record 108 regular season victories and tacked on 11 more in its march through October to capture the ninth World Series championship in Red Sox history. The team’s on-field success has been accompanied by its determination to play a meaningful role in the community. Werner was instrumental in establishing and overseeing the Red Sox Foundation, which has become the largest and one of the fastest-growing team charities in Major League Baseball. Since its creation in 2002, the Red Sox Foundation has donated to more than 1,900 organizations, helped 325 Boston Public School students with college scholarships through the Red Sox Scholars program and supported thousands of youth baseball programs in Boston and throughout New England with its RBI and Little League programming. Additionally, the Foundation has helped support the critical services provided to over 20,000 individuals each year at The Dimock Center in Roxbury, and through a longstanding and unique partnership that dates back to 1953, the Red Sox have helped the Jimmy Fund raise more than $155 million for cancer treatment and research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. In 2010, the Red Sox were the first ever to be awarded the Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence for the impact of the Red Sox Scholars program on underserved youth in Boston. More recently, at the start of the 2020 pandemic, the Foundation took a lead role and assisted families struggling with food insecurity by providing three thousand $250 gift cards redeemable at local grocery stores. Similarly, significant gifts were made to organizations that made direct impacts on addressing social injustice and improving access to remote learning and COVID-19 testing. Werner spearheaded the creation of the Home Base Program, a partnership between the Red Sox Foundation and Massachusetts General Hospital, following the teams’ visits to Walter Reed Medical Center as an adjunct to their World Series ceremonies in the White House. To date, this significant partnership has provided treatment and care to over 25,000 veterans and their families suffering from the “invisible wounds of war,” and garnered Werner and the Red Sox a pair of prestigious awards. In recognition of his leadership, Werner was honored with the United States Army’s Outstanding Civilian Service Award on October 30, 2014. And in November 2019, the Red Sox were once again named recipient of the Allan H. Selig Award for Philanthropic Excellence for the achievements of the Home Base program – the second such award bestowed upon the club by MLB making the Red Sox the only organization to win the award twice since its inception in 2010. Most recently, in May of 2021, Werner was presented with the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service – the second highest award from the head of the Department of Defense – for his efforts in founding the Home Base program. Like so many Red Sox fans of his generation, Werner’s infatuation with the Red Sox began in 1967, when as a freshman at Harvard, the New York native was caught up in the team’s “Impossible Dream” journey to the World Series. He fell hard, both for the Red Sox and Fenway Park. For his Visual Studies class at Harvard, he created a documentary about Fenway, a project that presaged a phenomenally successful career that has included his enshrinement in the Television Academy Hall of Fame. Embodying the values of integrity and quality, Werner and his partner, Marcy Carsey, have helped create over 1,600 half-hours of quality primetime comedies. These include: “That 70’s Show”, “ROSEANNE”, “3rd Rock from the Sun”, “The Cosby Show”, “A Different World”, “Cybill” and “Grace Under Fire.” The Carsey-Werner partnership is widely regarded as the most successful independent television production companies in the history of the medium. Before starting Carsey-Werner, the duo worked for ABC television when they discovered Robin Williams in a comedy club and launched his career in “Mork and Mindy.” They also provided opportunities to such talents as Tom Hanks (“Bosom Buddies”), Billy Crystal (“Soap”), Danny DeVito, and Tony Danza (both in “Taxi”). Red Sox Front Office Red Sox Ownership, Continued 2021 Boston Red Sox Season In Review | 7 Werner continues to bring new ideas to entertainment. He is currently executive producing the third season of “THE CONNERS,” the spinoff of the hit family sitcom, “ROSEANNE,” which returned in 2018. “THE CONNERS” is TV’s #1 comedy for the 2021 season in total viewers. “SURVIVOR’S REMORSE,’’ a venture in which he partnered with NBA superstar LeBron James, aired for four seasons on the Starz network. In addition, Werner recently produced “ON THE COUNT OF THREE,” a film directed by Jerrod Carmichael, which premiered at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival. The filmed garnered the Waldo Salt Screenwriting Award for best dramatic screenplay. Werner (born April 12, 1950) in 2001 received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Producers Guild of America. His company has earned 24 Emmy Awards, 11 People’s Choice Awards, and numerous Golden Globes, Humanitas Prizes, and Peabody Awards. In 2000, Werner, Carsey, and their partner Caryn Mandabach joined forces with Geraldine Laybourne and Oprah Winfrey to start Oxygen, a 24-hour cable channel serving the modern woman. Since 2001, when Werner and his partners purchased the Red Sox, Fenway Park, and 80% of the New England Sports Network, NESN has become a highly acclaimed model for regional sports networks throughout the country, the first to broadcast Major League Baseball games in high definition. Werner has long immersed himself in the work of Major League Baseball and was a leader in the adoption of the wild-card playoff format, of which the 2004 club was an historic beneficiary. He presently serves on Major League Baseball’s Business and Media Board and the Competition Committee Board. In January, 2013, for his leadership and dedication to the game, Werner received the Dave Winfield Humanitarian Award from the Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation at the organization’s annual “In the Spirit of the Game” Sports and Entertainment Spectacular. Werner became Chairman of the Liverpool Football Club in 2010. In 2019, Liverpool defeated Premier League rival Tottenham, 2-0, in the UEFA Champions league final in Madrid. Liverpool further solidified its place at the top of the global elite by winning the FIFA Club World Cup in December 2019 and followed that up by capturing the 2019-20 Premier League title, the club’s 19th top flight league championship. Werner spends much of the year in Boston, where he has a residence. He has served on many boards, including the White House Fellows Commission and the Ron Brown Scholar Program. He currently serves on the National Board for After School All Stars, a program helping more than 90,000 at-risk youth engage in after school activities.
One-on-One: Inside Fenway Sports Group
Moderator: Abraham Madkour, Publisher & Executive Editor, Sports Business Journal