$2 billion. That’s a whole lot of dough. On Tuesday night, Magic Johnson and major league baseball executive Stan Kasten, along with other investors, threw down this exact amount in a bid that resulted in the record breaking acquisition of the LA Dodgers baseball franchise from former owner Frank McCourt.
I think it is great that such a huge icon like Magic is part of this deal, but $2 billion is a price tag that is really hard to agree with. Having Johnson’s name associated with the club is obviously going to help drive people into the stadium after their lackluster attendance in 2011, the first year the team missed the three million attendees mark for the season since 1992 according to ESPN.com.
The deal shattered the previous sale record of a major league baseball franchise that was held by the Chicago Cubs, who went for $845 million in 2009. I understand that the Dodgers stadium and surrounding properties are on a hot piece of land in the middle of one of the most expensive cities in the U.S, but $2 billion?
The Boston Red Sox, who have experienced a lot of success over the last 10 years, went for $700 million in 2002, so I just feel like Magic’s crew spent way more than was necessary. Makes you wonder what drove the price up to this ridiculous number.
They didn’t even get the whole of the property either! Frank McCourt and his affiliates, who owned the team when this deal went through, are getting to keep half the parking lots owned by the Dodgers. McCourt was a huge winner in the deal, and he will keep winning because the fans have got to park somewhere.
And that is who I feel is going to ultimately lose in this deal, the fans. Getting Magic Johnson’s name on this deal was a very smart PR move because he is so popular in the city of LA, but the exorbitant price tag they settled with is going to be have to paid for somehow, and it seems like the fans are going to get the short end of the stick when they have to start raising ticket, food and drink prices.
The spending isn’t even over for the new ownership either. The Dodgers have some solid pitching in 2011 Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw, and you couldn’t ask for a better bat than Matt Kemp who had a .324 batting average in 2011 and 126 RBIs. All they need now is to fill in the gaps and the future looks bright for a franchise that had become stagnant in the city of critics.
“I won’t get in Stan’s way,” Johnson told ESPN’s “Baseball Tonight” on Wednesday. “I won’t get in our manager’s way, [but] I will be heavily involved. I’m writing a big check here.”