This story continues to develop. The Los Angeles Dodgers currently owned by Frank McCourt, has entered into agreement to sell the team to a group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson. While Magic has the biggest name in the ownership group and he’ll be the face of the franchise, the real owner will be Mark R. Walter who will be the majority partner.
The team will go for an amazing pricetag of $2 billion making it a record sale price for a U.S. professional sports franchise. The previous record was $1.1 billion for the sale of the Miami Dolphins.
McCourt will continue to own the parking lots and surrounding property of Dodger Stadium.
The next phase for the team besides gaining approval from Major League Baseball and its owners, will be settling the media rights. There are three possible options for the Dodgers. Remain with the status quo and keep getting paid by Fox Sports which wants to keep the Dodgers as a major property on its Prime Ticket channel. The second option would be to join the Lakers and the Galaxy on Time Warner Cable’s new regional sports network which will launch later this year.
Or the third option would be to form a totally new regional sports network. Many observers think the Dodgers may go for this route.
We have the press release from the Dodgers.
LOS ANGELES, March 27, 2012 – The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt today announced an agreement under which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC (“GBM”) will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion upon completion of the closing process. The purchasing group includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Peter Guber, Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Mr. McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers will also be forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million.
The Los Angeles Dodgers stated, “This transaction underscores the Debtors’ objective to maximize the value of their estate and to emerge from Chapter 11 under a successful Plan of Reorganization, under which all creditors are paid in full.”
Frank McCourt stated, “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. We are delighted that this group will continue the important work we have started in the community, fulfilling our commitment to building 50 Dream Fields and helping with the effort to cure cancer.”
Earvin “Magic” Johnson stated, “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.”
We’ll continue to follow the Dodgers sale through to the bidding for the media rights. All this is set to fall into place for the team rather soon.