Tag: Los Angeles Dodgers

Magic Johnson

Mark Cuban, Magic Johnson trying to buy MLB’s Dodgers


Here’s the consensus in Los Angeles — whoever buys the Dodgers will be an upgrade over the previous owner. So long as you don’t need to use the franchise as an ATM machine and run it into the ground while being a public spectacle, you’re an upgrade.

An auction of the Dodgers as part of an ugly divorce process is taking place and a couple prominent NBA players are trying to be that upgrade, reports the Los Angeles Times.

One is Mark Cuban, the Mavericks owner who was deep into bidding on the Texas Rangers before losing to a group led by Nolan Ryan. He has said there is real value in the Dodgers franchise, but that he learned lessons from the last process and would not overbid.

But he is not the preferred favorite son — Magic Johnson is. Magic has bid along with longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten and money man Mark Walter. Magic Johnson sold his minority share in the Lakers last year looking to take a larger role in another professional sports team. Living in Los Angeles, I would say this is largely the bid favored by fans because it has someone who gets sports and Los Angeles, a baseball guy and is well financed.

In the end what the fans want will be moot — money will talk. The final sale process is expected to be around $1.5 billion.

These are the initial bids and all we know is that more than 10 came in. The MLB and Bud Selig will spend the next month pairing the bids down to 10. Outgoing owner Frank McCourt will pick from there. McCourt wants to keep the parking lot (the valuable real estate) around the stadium, but no ownership group worth its salt would let him keep that asset and revenue source, or want him around the team in any way.

Magic Johnson wants to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers

Magic Johnson

Right now in Los Angeles, saying you are part of a group trying to buy the Dodgers is like saying you’re writing a screenplay. Everyone is doing it. I’d expect the Kardashians to be in a group within the week.

And now Magic Johnson is in as well, although he has both the money and pull within the city actually make this happen.

The Lakers legend — who sold out his Lakers ownership share last year — told the Los Angeles Times he wants in the baseball game.

Johnson would be the face of a high-powered ownership group that would include Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, and Mark Walter, chief executive of Guggenheim Partners, a financial services firm that controls over $125 billion in assets. The firm is headquartered in Chicago and New York, with an office in Los Angeles….

“The first thing I asked Walter was, ‘Do you want to win, and do you want to put money in?’ He said, ‘Absolutely.’

After the ridiculous Fox ownership era, followed by the heavily leveraged, cash poor Frank McCourt era, Dodger fans want some liquidity and sanity in their next owner. This is a proud franchise in a big market that has not been well run for a long time.

That’s why the most popular name to come up is Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who said he would be in the bidding on a team. But Magic Johnson would work, too.

The only question is will Bud Selig and the other owners allow it, or do they prefer heavily leveraged owners in large markets because they don’t want guys who could drive up salaries by competing with the Yankees and Red Sox for the best talent?