On April 20th, Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig announced he was taking away control of the Los Angeles Dodgers from owner Frank McCourt.
But who would be the best owners for the Dodgers?
Let's take a look at some possibilities.
Okay, let's get this one out of the way first.
In the world of high finance, who knows what will happen with Frank and Jamie McCourt and their fight to retain ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers?
Who actually owns the Dodgers is still in contention between the McCourts and the civil courts.
Frank McCourt has said he is going to fight Major League Baseball to keep control of the Dodgers. He might win that battle. Whenever an issue of high finance goes before a court of law you never know what the outcome will be.
And if Frank McCourt is right, and a deal for long-term television rights can be reached, it is possible McCourt and the Dodgers could be receiving almost $300 million from new long-term television rights.
What would Commissioner Bud Selig and Major League Baseball do then? Would they risk a lengthy court battle to take over control of the Dodgers permanently?
Who knows? I know I don't really want to guess on that one.
Upside of Frank and Jamie McCourt—or one or the other keeping control of the Dodgers: Well, at one time I think the McCourts really wanted to run a successful MLB franchise.
Personal matters and really bad financial decisions got in the way of that.
But what if one or the other retains control of the Dodgers? Who knows, maybe they will do it right in the future.
Downside: I don't think Major League Baseball, investors or the fans want the McCourts to keep control of the Dodgers. And in the long run I don't think either of them will—but it could be a long and ugly battle in the courts.
A long fight between the McCourts and Major League Baseball will not be good for the team, the city, or the fans.
My opinion: Hopefully MLB will have the power to force the McCourts sell the team.
It seems like Mark Cuban's name comes up whenever a baseball team is for sale, the Dodgers are no exception. Cuban almost became the Texas Rangers owner last year, and is known to be interested in the Dodgers.
Mark Cuban has the cash that is needed in today's professional sports scene, and he is known to go and bid for high priced free agents.
However Cuban, the Dallas Mavericks owner, has recently said that he will not put himself in a bidding situation for an MLB franchise again. He is reportedly only interested if MLB names a price and invites him to match it.
According to ESPNNewYork.com, Mark Cuban said:
"I'm not going to -- whether it's here or the Dodgers, for that matter -- I'm not going to put myself in a bidding situation. I did that twice and learned my lesson."
Upside of Mark Cuban being Dodgers owner: Lots of cash, and the desire to be the owner of a "championship winning" professional sports team. Cuban also seems willing to spend the cash in the free agent bidding wars.
Downside: Mark Cuban seems to be an owner that meddles with player personnel issues too much. He also has a tendency to say and do things that create bad press.
My opinion: While I know Mark Cuban would bring a lot of cash to the table to pay current players and bid on future free agents, I would prefer another owner for the Dodgers. I would like to see someone with ties to the Los Angeles community, and the the Los Angeles Dodgers.
And to be completely honest I enjoy seeing the frustration on Mark Cuban's face when the Dallas Mavericks lose in the NBA playoffs. Why would I want him to be the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers?
In a Bleacher Report article from April 21 (L.A. Dodgers: Will Mark Cuban Replace Frank McCourt as Team's Owner?) Rich Stowe gave his reasons why Mark Cuban will not be the next owner of the Dodgers, and I agree with him.
Yeah, I know what you are thinking. Disney? No way. But I have seen Disney's name come up more than once in that last week in connection with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
I don't think Disney is interested in getting into the sports franchise ownership game again—but you never know. However I think it would be a real long shot to say the least.
The Walt Disney Company has shown no public interest in buying the Dodgers so far.
Upside of Disney being the Dodgers owner: Lots of capital to extend current player contracts, and pursue free agents.
Downside: Disney's last ownership attempt with the Angels was a complete disaster—no reason to think it would be any different this time.
My opinion: No—keeping Frank McCourt might be better.
While this would probably be worse than Frank and Jamie McCourt retaining ownership, I have seen it mentioned as a possibility.
Fox is currently in a battle with Time Warner Cable over the television rights to Los Angeles teams. Time Warner Cable recently signed a 20-year, $3 billion deal to televise Lakers games.
Fox may want to buy the Dodgers, or help some other new owner financially, to protect their interests in television rights for the Dodgers.
There have also been reports that the Dodgers want to start their own cable network like other MLB teams have.
Upside of News Corp. buying the Dodgers: I can't really think of any, except $45.8 billion, but they never spent money on free agents before, so why would they now?
Downside: The last time was a complete nightmare, I don't see any reason why that would change this time.
My opinion: No Fox, no way.
Lawrence Joseph "Larry" Ellison is the co-founder and chief executive officer of Oracle Corporation, a major software company.
Ellison has shown interest in purchasing a major sports franchise in the past. He was recently spurned in his bid to buy the Golden State Warriors when the NBA franchise was sold to a group led by Peter Guber and Joseph Lacob.
Larry Ellison has followed professional tennis all his life, and in 2010 he purchased a 50 percent share in the BNP Paribas Open—one of the top four tournaments in the United States. Ellison's investment in the BNP Paribas Open saved the tournament from being sold and moved outside of the U.S.
Ellison has not publicly shown any interest in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers as yet. However his interest in sports—and his huge bankroll makes him a potential buyer for the Dodgers.
Upside of Larry Ellison owning the Dodgers: Like so many potential buyers Ellison has a huge bankroll that could be used to help the Dodgers sign current players—and to pursue future free agents.
Ellison also seems to be a wise businessman with an above average knowledge of sports.
Downside: Larry Ellison may be a billionaire with knowledge of sports, but he has never been involved in running a professional sports team.
My opinion: For me the jury is still out on Larry Ellison. He definitely has the cash needed, and if he were to hire some good "baseball" people to actually make player decisions he could be a good fit.
Eli Broad is 77 year-old billionaire developer and philanthropist who resides in the Los Angeles area and is someone who is active in local civic projects.
According to several media reports Broad has offered to buy the Dodgers if Frank McCourt cannot retain ownership.
Bill Plaschke of the Los Angeles Times reported that former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley would be the chairman of Eli Broad's group should he purchase the Dodgers. Broad would be the principal owner with O'Malley as an investor.
Upside of Eli Broad buying the Dodgers: Lots of cash to sign current players and future free agents. Peter O'Malley would bring his knowledge of baseball and his love for the Dodgers to the table as well.
Downside: While a very wealthy person, Eli Broad had never been involved in the ownership of a professional sports team.
My opinion: Let's find someone with the cash—and the experience in running a sports franchise.
Tom Gores is a Beverly Hills billionaire businessman who has made a career of buying underperforming companies loaded with good assets. While I hate to say it the Dodgers pretty much fit into that category at the moment.
In the past he has expressed interest in purchasing the Los Angeles Dodgers should they become available.
However Tom Gores bought the NBA’s Detroit Pistons in April of this year, and it is now reported that he is no longer interested in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Alec Gores is the founder, Chairman and CEO of The Gores Group a Los Angeles based private equity firm, who made his fortune through leveraged buyouts of technology firms.
It has been reported that Alec Gores may try to purchase the Dodgers with his brother, Tom, or join an investment group in a bid for the team.
Since Tom Gores is saying he is no longer interested in the Dodgers that would leave Alec Gores as the only member of the Gores family interested in the Dodgers.
Upside of either of the Gores brothers buying the Dodgers: They both seem to have good business sense, and a lot of capital that could be used for player contracts.
Downside: Except for Tom Gores recent experience with the Detroit Pistons—neither of them have experience in running a professional sports team.
My opinion: I think the Dodgers need someone to buy the team that has had extensive experience with professional sports—especially baseball. Let's keep looking for the right fit for the Dodgers.
Philip Anschutz is an American entrepreneur who has stakes in the NHL's Los Angeles Kings, and the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers.
Anschutz bought out his father's drilling company in 1961, and has invested in stocks, real estate, and railroads (yeah, I always wanted to own a railroad, who doesn't?). He has also invested in entertainment companies (he was a major investor in "The Chronicles of Narnia") and multiple Major League Soccer teams.
He has also been one of the investors active in trying to attract an NFL team to Los Angeles.
While the NFL might have to make an exception for Anschutz to be an NFL owner and a MLB team owner at the same time, they have done that recently. Stan Kroenke who has majority ownership of the St. Louis Rams, is also an owner of the NBA’s Denver Nuggets and the NHL’s Colorado Avalanche.
Upside of Philip Anschutz being the Dodgers owner: Extensive business experience, lots of experience in running professional sports teams, and lots and lots of cash for player contracts.
Downside: No real obvious negatives here that I can see other than no real experience in baseball.
My opinion: I think Philip Anschutiz could possibly be a good fit for the Dodgers. He has ties to the Los Angeles area, and has the experience in professional sports that the Dodgers need.
Earvin "Magic" Johnson as I hope most would know played point guard for the Los Angeles Lakers—and is a very popular figure in Los Angeles.
Johnson recently sold his minority stakes in the Los Angeles Lakers and Starbucks, and has been mentioned as a possible buyer for the Los Angeles Dodgers. He has expressed a strong interest in becoming the majority owner of a professional sports team, and he has said he wants to help bring the NFL back to Los Angeles.
Since leaving the NBA Magic Johnson has shown good instincts as a businessman.
He runs Magic Johnson Enterprises, a company that has a net worth of $700 million. Magic Johnson Enterprises subsidiaries include Magic Johnson Productions, a chain of movie theaters called Magic Johnson Theaters and Magic Johnson Entertainment, a movie studio.
Since Commissioner Bud Selig announced MLB's takeover of the Dodgers on April 20, Magic Johnson's name has come up more than once as a possible candidate to buy the Dodgers. As Bleacher Report Featured Columnist Doug Mead said, "It's time to bring Showtime back to Los Angeles."
Upside to Magic Johnson buying the Dodgers: Magic Johnson is a very talented businessman—and a very popular figure in Los Angeles. He would probably bring some real excitement to Chavez Ravine if he became the Dodgers owner.
Downside: I don't see any huge downside to Magic Johnson becoming the Dodgers owner. However, while Magic Johnson seems to be a very competent businessman, his net worth probably isn't enough to buy the Dodgers without help from others. Who would those others be?
My opinion: Magic Johnson becoming the new Dodgers owner is definitely one of my top choices. Of course he would have to hire some good baseball people to make the day-to-day player personnel decisions. I think Magic Johnson would do just that—and would probably have very talented baseball people helping him run the team.
Steve Garvey is one of the most popular players in Dodgers history, and has expressed an interest in buying the Los Angeles Dodgers with an investment group led by Ron Burkle.
However Garvey has had serious financial problems in the past and would need a real savvy businessperson to help him with the high finance aspect of owning the Dodgers.
In steps billionaire Ron Burkle—a businessman who is part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins of the NHL with Penguins legend Mario Lemieux.
Burkle has been reported to be interested in purchasing the Dodgers should they become available, and Burkle is just the experienced businessman Garvey would need to team up with.
Upside of the Garvey/Burkle group owning the Dodgers: Of all the people mentioned as possible owners of the Dodgers, Steve Garvey is the only one who seems to have a true love for the Dodgers (well except for Peter O'Malley).
Ron Burkle is a respected businessman who has the cash needed to be a major player when it comes to signing current players and free agents.
Downside: Steve Garvey has no experience in running a professional sports team, and he has had financial troubles in the past. Garvey also has no general manager experience at the MLB level, and would need to hire a GM to make player personnel decisions.
My opinion: As long as the financial end is run by people other than Steve Garvey this might be a good fit for the Dodgers. I think Garvey probably bleeds "Dodger Blue" as much as anyone.
While it is no certainty that Frank and or Jamie McCourt will have to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers, it does look like they might be forced to.
The people I have listed are some of the many names that have been floated as possible new owners for the Dodgers—but not the only ones.
And there is always the possibility of a wild card coming in out of the blue and buying the Dodgers.
So what do you think? Who do you think would be the best fit as the next owner of the Dodgers?
Please comment and let me know what you think, and don't forget the Facebook "Like".
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