Good news travel fast. After the tumultuous season they had last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers could use a big dose of good news to re-inject life into the ballclub, its fans and Major League Baseball. Well, they got it when embattled owner Frank McCourt sold the team to a group of bidders that came into the negotiation process slinging around big bucks and bigger expectations.
If that’s any indication, then much of the luster that had been lost during the tenure that McCourt and his wife, Jamie McCourt, owned the team, could re-surface with a brighter shine. The future of the Dodgers on the field is already in good hands with Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and National League MVP runner-up Matt Kemp coming back to finish what they left off last season.
The city of Los Angeles and the organization is now looking forward to more of those good times, thanks to the new ownership group dropping $2 billion dollars to take over the team. The Dodgers are already feeling the impact of the ownership group that includes former Los Angeles Lakers great Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
A day after announcing that an agreement had been reached for Frank McCourt to sell the team to Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC, the team released a statement that it had already sold out is home opener in celebration of the 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium on April 10.
After a year of turmoil that began with horrific beating of a fan on Opening Day last spring, the Dodgers and their fans are ready to turn the page in 2012. Johnson, who once owned a part of the Lakers before divesting his interest in the team, looks to be the cheerleader leading the way.
“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,” Johnson said.
Johnson’s former boss, Dr. Jerry Buss, couldn’t be happier for the man who brought “Showtime” legacy to the Lakers.
“Magic Johnson is probably the most beloved sports figure in Los Angeles history,” said Buss. “In addition to being a phenomenal success on the court in leading the Lakers to five NBA Championships, he has been a success in everything else he’s become involved with, most notably his spectacular business career and also his educational campaign on behalf of HIV awareness. I’d like to congratulate Magic and his partners on their acquisition of the Dodgers and wish them the best of luck.”
It’s been a pretty good start to the 2012 year for Johnson, still considered to be perhaps the most revered Laker figure in the history of the franchise. A national spokesman in the fight against HIV/AIDS, Johnson recently celebrated “The Announcement,” a moving dock-drama that tells his story of being a basketball star and being an HIV/AIDS awareness advocate.
Now Johnson has a stake in one of the most storied franchises in major league baseball.
McCourt announced the agreement in which Guggenheim Baseball Management LLC (“GBM”) will acquire the Los Angeles Dodgersfor $2 billion upon completion of the closing process. The purchasing group includes Mark R. Walter as its controlling partner, as well as 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 deal still has to be approved by MLB.
The Dodgers issued a statement outlining the premise of this agreement. “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.”
McCourt, of course, is happy about the deal.
“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,” McCourt said. “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.”
Dennis is the editor and publisher of News4usonline. He covers sports, social and racial justice, politics, equal rights, and entertainment. Dennis has over two decades of journalism experience. He earned a degree in journalism from Howard University. “I write what I’m passionate about.”