The Los Angeles Dodgers have come a long way since--in their original East Coast incarnation--they were first christened the Brooklyn Atlantics in 1883. It wasn't until the '30s that they became the Brooklyn Dodgers.
Fast forward well over a century, eight stadiums and countless home runs later, and the Dodgers are as synonymous with LA as year-round sunshine and balmy days.
Dodger Blue has of course, through the decades, witnessed the best of times and the worst of times. In the latter category, most recently and poignantly, in June of 2011, the Los Angeles Dodgers filed for bankruptcy protection. According to Reuters, the team blamed Major League Baseball (MLB) for casting aside a TV deal that would have given them much-needed funds.
The next dark chapter in this part of Dodgers history was of course when the team's owner and chairman Frank McCourt put the Dodgers on the auction block.
Understandably, the dire straits in which the team found itself spurred a passionate outcry from citizens and fans. Shortly after the bankruptcy was announced, Councilwoman Janice Hahn had proposed that fans buy back their home team by paying anywhere from $500 to $1000 each to own a share of the Dodgers.
Initially, the Dodgers auction drew 15 interested parties. Since February of 2012, that list was whittled down by about half, and then more than half again in March, 2012.
On March 29th, 2012, it was announced that the team would be acquired for a record $2 billion, by Magic Johnson and his group. To date, it is the most ever paid for a sports group in North America.
Dodgers Baseball Team 'Final Three' Auction Finalists
- Wall street hedge funder Steven Cohen
- St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke
- Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals
Original List of Prospective Dodgers Owners
- Magic Johnson and Stan Kasten
- Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban
- Stan Kroenke
- Former Dodgers manager Joe Torre
- Los Angeles investor Stanley Gold and the family of Roy Disney
- Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser and their investment group
- Steven Cohen
- Real estate tycoon Tom Barrack (owner of Neverland)
- Tony Ressler (formerly of Drexel Burnham Lambert)
- So-called "apartment king" Alan Casden
- Tom Golisano, New York GOP political player and payroll processing magnate
The Los Angeles Dodgers Baseball Team: A Valuable Commodity
Although the idea of looking at the Dodgers as a commodity was and remains sacrilege to its die-hard supporters, ultimately, the team's sale is a financial transaction and the stakes are high for everyone--players, management and the new owner(s).
Forbes published a Dodgers value fact sheet for the team. And the numbers speak for themselves:
- Team Value: $1400 M
- Championships: 6
- Price Paid: $355 M
- Year Purchased: 2004
- Revenue: $230 M
- Operating Income: $1.2 M
- Debt/Value: 41%
- Player Expenses: $127 M
- Gate Receipts: $88 M
- Revenue per Fan: $32
Chronology of a Baseball Team Auction
- June 27, 2011 - The Los Angeles Dodgers file for bankruptcy protection in the U.S. bankruptcy court in Delaware
- November 1, 2011 - Dodgers owner and chairman Frank McCourt agrees to sell the team (after fighting in court to try to retain control of it for two years)
- March 29th, 2012 - It is announced that Magic Johnson and his group will acquire the Dodgers for $2 billion
- April 1, 2012 - McCourt's deadline for selecting a final bidder
- April 6, 2012 - McCourt's deadline for notifying the bankruptcy judge of his choice
- April 30, 2012 - End goal date for closing the whole transaction