The Los Angeles Dodgers have been sold for $2 billion, owner Frank McCourt announced late Tuesday. Given the fact that he initially purchased the franchise for $430 million before turning it into a bankrupt, losing laughing stock – it’s safe to say that McCourt is coming away as the undeniable big winner of this massive transaction.
Guggenheim Baseball Management (GBM) LLC, a group featuring Los Angeles Lakers legend Magic Johnson and former Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten, ultimately put forth the winning bid for ownership of Los Angeles' favorite baseball team. Other members of the purchasing group include: Mark R. Walter (who will serve as controlling partner), Peter Guber, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly.
As part of this deal, McCourt and some parties associated with him will reportedly now form a joint venture that will acquire Chavez Ravine for an additional $150 million. According to ESPN Los Angeles' Tony Jackson, this means that "the group will purchase half the Dodger Stadium parking lots, which were deemed to have a total value of $300 million, with McCourt keeping the other half."
"This agreement with Guggenheim reflects both the strength and future potential of the Los Angeles Dodgers, and assures that the Dodgers will have new ownership with deep local roots, which bodes well for the Dodgers, its fans and the Los Angeles community," McCourt said in a statement.
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Johnson also released a statement on the deal: "I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles."
Why would anyone pay such a substantial figure for this franchise? CNBC’s Darren Rovell put it best: “The sale price of the Dodgers is based more on future media rights than ticket sales. TV more important than live gate.”
While McCourt -- who was bleeding money prior to this -- is clearly the biggest winner here, don’t discount how great this is for the actual Dodgers organization and all its supporters.
Over the last year, the embarrassing ineptness of the old regime killed any and all enthusiasm for baseball in L.A. in a way that nobody saw coming. This isn’t just clemency for McCourt – it’s wonderful news for folks who loved the Dodgers and were pained to see what the franchise had become in recent times.