Last evening, Ken Gurnick of MLB.com was the first to report that the Los Angeles Dodgers have been sold by Frank McCourt to a purchasing group that includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber, Bobby Patton, Todd Boehly and longtime MLB and NBA executive Stan Kasten. The final sale price, according to the New York Times, is $2.15 billion, a new record for sports franchises.
The deal, financed largely by Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm, includes $2 billion for the team (minus $412 million in debt) and $150 million to create a joint venture with McCourt on the parking lots and land surrounding Dodger Stadium.
The sale is the end of a nightmare phase in the history of the Dodgers, and to find out why referring to a nightmare isn’t an exaggeration, I strongly encourage you to read this wonderful summary from It’s About The Money Stupid on McCourt’s actions in buying the franchise and misusing the team’s income for his own personal use.
The mismanagement came to a head this past summer when the team was forced to file for bankruptcy after MLB Commissioner Bud Selig blocked a new, long term billion dollar cable television deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports, over concerns that the immediate influx of cash would be used to fund McCourt’s divorce settlement rather than baseball operations. Selig had been critical of McCourt’s decisions while running the team and went so far as to previously install a monitor to oversee the team’s operations, something that the then owner of the team referred to as “a hostile takeover.”
Part of the reason that the sale of the Dodgers was able to set records for professional sports franchises is because the purchasing group will now be able to make a new television deal that will be one of the most lucrative in baseball. Again, according to the New York Times:
The group can extend the team’s deal with Fox Sports-owned Prime Ticket during exclusive negotiations later this year, or can field offers from a bevy of possible suitors, including Time Warner Cable, which created two regional sports networks for the Lakers. Such a deal could result in the creation of a regional channel dedicated to the Dodgers and guarantee rights fees that dwarf what Prime currently pays.
In summary, it’s a bit of good news/ bad news for Dodgers fans. The good news: McCourt is out, and a popular local figure in Magic Johnson will be a major representative of the team. The bad news: the jerk who ran the team into the ground is now loaded.
@magicjohnson congrats on buying dodgers need a 1b or pinch hitter of the bench? Will play for free. Will donate salary charity
— Jose Canseco (@JoseCanseco) March 28, 2012
And The Rest
UniWatch releases its 2012 season preview which means: Jerseys, pants and logos, oh my. [UniWatch]
The Jairo Beras plot thickens. International free agents and the Texas Rangers get along like two peas in a pod. [Baseball Time In Arlington]
The Colorado Rockies have released Casey Blake, deciding to go young at third base instead of carrying the veteran. The infielder should have little difficulty getting picked up by another team. [MLB.com]
What is a ground ball pitcher? No, seriously, what is it. [The Platoon Advantage]
A quick and convenient guide on how to build a successful stadium downtown. [Atlantic Cities]
What Matt Cain means to the San Francisco Giants fan base. [McCovey Chronicles]
Are fly ball pitchers at a disadvantage in hitter’s parks? [The Book Blog]
An excerpt from New York Mets pitcher R.A. Dickey’s memoir, in which he writes about the abuse he suffered as a child. [SI.com]
Beer. And baseball, too. But mostly beer. [New York Times]
Finally, according to Nyjer Morgan, he’s in a catmance with his new kitty cat, which I don’t really understand. First of all, cats are disgusting. But secondly, why would it be called a catmance? A romance doesn’t mean you’re in love with a rom. [PETA]