As you’ve probably heard elsewhere, a group fronted by Magic Johnson and including Stan Katsen and Peter Gruber have reached an agreement (pending MLB approval) to purchase the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 billion. While any circumstance that removes Frank McCourt (above, left) from the picture (save for the Chavez Ravine parking lots) would otherwise be a cause for celebration amongst Dodger fans, there’s something thoroughly unpleasant about McCourt being so richly rewarded for doing everything in his power to ruin the franchise. Mike Onzanian of Forbes states that if the sale goes thru, McCourt will be go down as “the most financially successful owner of a team in Major League Baseball history,” status Hardball Talk’s Craig Calcaterra admits is “basically correct,” but “still horribly troubling”.
Troubling in that it makes us realize the tremendous disconnect between what baseball owners are interested in — getting a return on their investment — and what fans and players and everyone else in the baseball universe care about. A broader form of success either from winning ballgames or, at the very least, from an enjoyable product being put on the field or on our televisions, computers and radios.
I have my opinions, obviously, but I try not to be an overly judgmental person. Frank McCourt has made that pretty damn difficult in the past few years, because if there is anyone who deserves a good judging, it’s him. He’s not gonna get it though. He’.s going to walk away richer than he was when he walked in.
2 thoughts on “Frank McCourt – The Luckiest Parking Lot Owner Of All Time”
All about the ROI. Dodger fans kind of win, but so did McCourt.
For me, the part that makes this broken is the fact that it was a leveraged transaction. The guy barely had any of his own capital tied up in it (that’s why the bankruptcy hearing on the heels of the divorce), so he essentially got a free ride. If it the team’s valuation went the other way, it would have been “whoops!” and the creditors would own the thing and wonder what to do with it.
Realistically, things like this happen all of the time. Look at real-estate. C. 2002, banks were giving out mortgages to any warm body who put their hand up and wanted to buy a house. Come 2007, those warm bodies had seen a hell of a gain on borrowed money, largely due to the fact that the cheap money was still flowing, and inflating the value of the assets. Here we are in 2012, and a good number of those properties are underwater.
My long-winded points are that: 1) anybody who thinks that these kinds of gains are real (as in a product of organic growth) is fooling themselves and 2) McCourt may very well be selling at exactly the right time.