The most despised man in Los Angeles has been replaced by the city's most beloved public figure.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Frank McCourt announced an agreement under which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC will acquire the Dodgers for $2 billion.
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.
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."
With Magic at the helm, Dodger fans can finally be assured that the Boys in Blue will be in the hands of someone who is competent. Johnson seemingly is impervious to failure, as his intelligence, charisma, and determination -- the same traits that made him a superior basketball player -- have led to success in whatever business venture he has chosen to pursue.
Unless Johnson turns out to be a mere figurehead in the organization, his wisdom and leadership are exactly what this rudderless organization needs to bring it back to its former state of prominence.
More importantly, Johnson understands what makes sports successful in Los Angeles.
Magic ruled the city during its athletic golden era -- the 1980s. In that decade, LA witnessed 5 Laker championships, a Raiders Super Bowl win, the 1984 Olympics, the Gretzky trade, Fernandomania, and two Dodger titles.
In other words, he knows that local fans demand not just a winner, but a winner with star power and style.
Fortunately, for the new owners, the Dodgers have two of the game's brightest young stars already in place in Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and MVP candidate center fielder Matt Kemp.
The elephant in the room however, is the joint venture that the hated McCourt plans to operate around Chavez Ravine.
McCourt last year managed to do the impossible -- drive the Dodgers' loyal fans away from the Stadium.
In the past, the Dodgers regularly managed to reach the coveted 3 million annual attendance mark, regardless of their won-loss record. That all changed last season when the fanbase united against McCourt's miserly ways and essentially boycotted the games.
McCourt reportedly will have control over half of the stadium's parking lots, a potential thorn in the side of many fans who wanted him completely severed from the team.
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.”
The hefty 2 billion dollar price tag breaks the prior North American record set by the Miami Dolphins ($1.1 billion) in 2009. Undoubtedly, the new ownership will be eyeing 2014, when they will have the ability to sell the team's broadcasting rights and use that money to pay off any acquisition debt.
By Mike Elliott
Staff Editor for The Daily Sports Herald