Seven groups remain in the running to land the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium, as two groups were eliminated from the proceedings.
Of the nine parties still in contention last week, the two eliminated Monday were Michael Heisley, owner of the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies; and Tony Ressler, a minority investor in the Milwaukee Brewers and co-founder of Los Angeles-based Ares Management.
The remaining bidders include groups led by Earvin “Magic” Johnson and veteran baseball executive Stan Kasten; Connecticut investment king Steven Cohen and longtime Los Angeles agent Arn Tellem; Stanley Gold and the family of the late Roy Disney; and New York media executive Leo Hindery in partnership with Tom Barrack, chairman of Santa Monica-based Colony Capital.
St. Louis Rams owner Stan Kroenke, Beverly Hills-based real estate developer Alan Casden and Jared Kushner, owner and publisher of the New York Observer and son-in-law of Donald Trump, also remain in contention.
It’s a complicated process to ownership, and there’s surely no chance it will be completed by the beginning of the regular season. First, two MLB committees will evaluate each potential ownership group. Those passing this level of evaluation will be voted upon by MLB owners; those receiving approval from three-quarters of the owners will then proceed to negotiations with Frank McCourt and his advisers.
Of course, McCourt is hoping as many groups as possible receive MLB approval to proceed to the final round: more bidders means more potential for a bidding war. McCourt expects $1.5 million for the team and the ballpark, a number that seems on the high side when you consider one of the most monetizable portions of the Dodger empire — the Chavez Ravine land surrounding the ballpark — is off the table, to be retained for future development by McCourt. Many in the sports world expected the Chicago Cubs/Wrigley Field combo to go for more than a billion dollars, but the final purchase price was under $900 million.
By the way, Magic Johnson is not a novice in the baseball world. He, through a trust, owns 15 percent of the enormously successful Dayton Dragons (Low Class A; Midwest League), though he’s not been involved in the team’s daily operations. And no, he would not have to divest himself of the Dragons ownership if he was part of the Dodgers ownership; MLB allows ownership of MiLB teams, as witnessed by Nolan Ryan’s continued ownership of MiLB teams in Round Rock and Corpus Christi after landing the Texas Rangers.
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