We’ve got some very exciting sports news creating quite a stir here in LA today … it was announced late last night that an investment group lead by LA Lakers basketball star Earvin Magic Johnson put in the successful bid to buy the LA Dodgers baseball team which is up for sale. Johnson’s group’s bid of $2 billion dollars was not only the highest bid put in for the Dodgers but it is also the highest bid any group has offered for any sports team EVER in North America. For years, the Dodgers have been plagued by the personal drama of the current owner Frank McCourt and his wife (who’s nasty divorce put the Dodgers management in jeopardy). With Magic Johnson as a new owner, it looks like a bright and exciting new era of the LA Dodgers is about to get underway.
A group led by Lakers legend Magic Johnson emerged Tuesday night as the new owners of the Dodgers, ending months of uncertainty for the storied but troubled baseball franchise. Johnson, who guided the Lakers to five NBA championships during the “Showtime” era of the 1980s, is a partner in the group along with longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten and movie executive Peter Guber. The controlling owner would be Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services company. The winning group paid $2 billion for the team a record for a sports franchise — according to an announcement issued jointly with previous owner Frank McCourt. “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise,” Johnson said in the statement, adding the new owners “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.” After taking the team into bankruptcy last year, McCourt had sought to retain control of the parking lots surrounding the ballpark. It was announced he and “certain affiliates” of the new ownership will be “forming a joint venture, which will acquire the Chavez Ravine property for an additional $150 million.” Johnson’s group will control the parking lots for Dodgers games and work with McCourt on any future development. In the statement, McCourt said the sale “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 announcement Tuesday ended three years of turmoil during which the team’s performance on the field deteriorated and the front office struggled financially … The sale must be confirmed by the court in a hearing April 13. The transaction is set to close by April 30, the same day McCourt must pay his ex-wife $131 million in a divorce settlement. If the deal closes as expected, the Dodgers would be owned by an entity called Guggenheim Baseball Partners. Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, would run the team.
This is all VERY exciting. Now that Hall of Famer Magic Johnson’s name is attached to the LA Dodgers, you can believe that the team will become a serious matter of discussion in the world of sports. Michiganders will remember that Magic got his basketball career started at Michigan State University so it’s amazing to have a little bit of Michigan included in this exciting deal. My heart will always belong to the Detroit Tigers but David and I are big fans of the Dodgers and we have attended many games since living here in LA. I’m really looking forward to the coming season with Magic Johnson as owner. I predict big things for the team … and for LA. This is really all anyone is taking about here … it’s so exciting … especially since the new baseball season is just around the corner ;)