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Dodgers Sold for $2 Billion: Five Key Issues
Wow, that was fast. The Los Angeles Dodgers have a new owner, and it only cost the winning group $2 billion. Los Angeles gets their team back from the unpopular Frank McCourt, but fans will not get everything that they want. McCourt will retain the land and the man who has not gotten the hint that he is unwelcome will still be around. Here are five key issues from this sale.
$2 billion. Say it again. $2 billion. I like sports a great deal, but that is a lot of money. People are out of work, there is poverty throughout the world and the earth is running out of natural resources. Despite all that, a baseball team was sold for $2 billion. I'll get off the soapbox now, but I think it is safe to say that the group overpaid. I guess that is what you do sometimes when you want to ensure that your bid is the winner. Go big or go home.
Will all sports deals get done like this in the future? Will future revenue from potential media deals be included in the retail price? Obviously this is a major franchise and Los Angeles is a giant market, but this is still an unusual deal. How does a team go from $430 million to $2 billion in eight years? It is ironic that in the end McCourt was able to outmaneuver his nemesis Bud Selig and walk away with a deal that could change the landscape of professional sports.
Focusing on baseball
At least the fan base can get back to focusing on baseball. Granted, there is always the possibility that more off-the-field drama could occur, but hopefully the transfer of ownership will allow for baseball operations to move forward with building a winning team. Whether the ownership group will have enough money left over to sign free agent players in the future remains to be seen. One hopes that a group that has $2 billion will have some resources to build a solid payroll.
At least the Dodger fans get someone in the ownership group that has built-in popularity with the fans. Magic Johnson remains one of the most popular sports icons in Los Angeles history, and he now has the opportunity to become a champion in two different professional sports. The role is obviously different, but hopefully Magic can bring his charisma, enthusiasm and business sense to a club that needs some revitalizing.
The villain remains
As much as fans are going to happy that this deal is done, the distasteful elements remain. This should be a triumph of American capitalism, as a guy takes a bunch of debt and turns it into a ridiculous profit. Then, he continues to make money off the fans by retaining the parking lots and getting a slice of future development deals. However, we are talking about Frank McCourt, and fans don't want to see him anywhere near Dodger stadium in the future. The sad truth is that he will continue to be a stain on this proud franchise. It is too bad that Magic couldn't make Frank disappear.
The author grew up in Seattle and is ultimately loyal to the Mariners, but now lives in Los Angeles and also roots for Dodger Blue. You can follow him on Twitter @tpheifer.
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