The time couldn’t be better for Magic to work a little magic with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
At least that is the plan now that Los Angeles Lakers’ legend Magic Johnson’s ownership group has entered into a big league business decision.
On Tuesday night, it was announced that a group that includes Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten -- the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals -- agreed to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers from Frank McCourt for $2 billion.
That’s right, $2 billion.
"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 in a statement.
The sale of the Dodgers has been on the horizon since last June when the organization filed for bankruptcy as McCourt’s messy divorce played out in the press. To make matters worse, Los Angeles only had three sellouts last season, finished third in the National League West at 82-79, had overall home attendance was the lowest since the 1992 season. According to the Los Angeles Times, the sale must be confirmed by the court in a hearing on April 13. The transaction is set to close by April 30. That's the same day McCourt must pay his ex-wife $131 million in a divorce settlement.
Johnson, on the other hand, has been positioning himself to make a major sports business move for the last two years. In October, 2010, Magic sold his 4.5% interest in the Lakers (and 105 Starbucks), believed to be at an estimated value of $27 million.
Not only do the Dodgers keep an LA-centric ownership presence with Johnson’s group (Guggenheim Baseball Management) at the helm, but he also knows all about helping build a legacy. That was true throughout his 13 seasons with the Lakers and bringing five NBA championships to Los Angeles. Will such success carry over to the diamond with the Dodgers?
Magic has the right baseball people around him, that’s for sure.
Stan Kasten -- who became the youngest GM in the NBA with the Atlanta Hawks in 1976 -- was hired as legal counsel of the Hawks and Atlanta Braves and was promoted to president of the two franchises in 1986. In 1999, Kastan added the title of president of the NHL's Atlanta Thrashers to his resume, before moving on to serve as president of the Washington Nationals from 2006-10.
But while Kasten has the credentials on the baseball side of the business, at the end of the day Magic Johnson’s name still headlines the purchase of the Dodgers.
Hopefully Magic can hit a home run with the new business venture.
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