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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Magic Johnson-led group buys Dodgers

Tuesday afternoon, Major League Baseball owners unanimously approved the three remaining bidding groups as possible owners of the Dodgers. The next step was an auction to buy the club from embattled owner Frank McCourt, but evidently that didn’t take very long. The group led by former Lakers star Magic Johnson has reached an agreement to purchase the club, according to a press release late Tuesday night. The deal is for $2 billion.

Gamingboy Posted: March 27, 2012 at 11:27 PM | 146 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: business, dodgers

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   1. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:10 AM (#4090929)
Someone help me, I'm missing something. How are the Dodgers worth 2 billion dollars? Especially if they need to chip on another 150 million for Chavez Ravine? This seems crazy but I'm sure I'm missing something obvious.
   2. NJ in DC (Now with Wife!) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:16 AM (#4090932)
Someone help me, I'm missing something. How are the Dodgers worth 2 billion dollars?

This.
   3. Lassus Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:27 AM (#4090943)
How are the Dodgers worth 2 billion dollars?

When I worked for the comic book store and people were buying unopened boxes of cards (that they wouldn't ever open) at auction, I asked a similar question to the owner of the store. The answer was, "It is worth that because that is what someone will pay for it."
   4. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:28 AM (#4090946)
Yeah, this is as sickening an example of greed, extravagance, decadence, ostentatiousness and let-them-eat-cakishness I've ever seen in my life. The economy, if you want to call it that, is so disjointed from reality its hard to comprehend.
   5. Pops Freshenmeyer Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:43 AM (#4090951)
I don't know if they're worth $2 billion but the Dodgers' TV contract is up which makes them a very attractive option for anyone who wants to launch a television entity comparable to NESN or YES.

EDIT: and the $2 billion number probably involves some delayed payments and creative financing so that the real figure is probably smaller than that in actual present-day value.
   6. Morty Causa Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:45 AM (#4090953)
When Steinbrenner died, I read in a number of places that the Yankee club was valued at 1.6 billion and it was the most valuable sports franchise. So, if the Dodgers go for 2 billion, does that mean the Yankees were undervaluedm or does it say something about a change in the market?
   7. depletion Posted: March 28, 2012 at 07:57 AM (#4090961)
Fred Wilpon smiles and rubs his hands together.
   8. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 08:30 AM (#4090986)
When Steinbrenner died, I read in a number of places that the Yankee club was valued at 1.6 billion and it was the most valuable sports franchise. So, if the Dodgers go for 2 billion, does that mean the Yankees were undervaluedm or does it say something about a change in the market


Probably a bit of both. Those Forbes valuations never seem to be all that accurate when franchises are actually sold.
   9. Sean Forman Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:01 AM (#4091015)
I don't know if they're worth $2 billion but the Dodgers' TV contract is up which makes them a very attractive option for anyone who wants to launch a television entity comparable to NESN or YES.


This is the exact reason in my opinion. Sports TV ratings are the only thing that isn't going down and is also the only thing that is not dvr'able, and one of the only things that is attracting large numbers of 25-54's. Rights fees are skyrocteting for teams, for leagues, for college conferences because advertisers are desperate to reach people and sports are proving the best way to do that.

The Lakers got $150m/year for 20 years for their broadcast rights for like 60-70 games last summer. Since then the prices are rising all over. Will the Dodgers get $200m? $300m? for their 140 non-national games? What would you pay for something that starts with a revenue stream of $250m and then rises due to tickets, concessions, merch, expanding national rights deals, expanding league internet revenue and labor costs capped at around $180m? And is appreciating at a mind boggling rate? I wouldn't be shocked if following the new tv rights deal that the Dodgers are priced as a moderate growth stock. Plus you are sitting on very valuable real estate as well.

edit: Also the Jax Jaguars in the NFL's worst market sold for $700m last fall for the exact same reason.
   10. TerpNats Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:24 AM (#4091039)
Kasten didn't win many friends while in Washington; perhaps he'll have better luck in Los Angeles. (Wonder if he'll appear on San Diego radio sports shows to encourage Padres fans to come to Chavez Ravine?)
   11. Gamingboy Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:29 AM (#4091044)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:41 AM (#4091058)
Magic would be up there. What about Lance Armstrong? Or does his PED scandal taint him a bit? Jeter is still pretty beloved, even among a lot of Yankee-haters. Magic is a bit different though because he is one of the rare athletes that is equally beloved by whites and blacks.
   13. Wins Above Paul Westerberg Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:42 AM (#4091059)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?

I don't know if he's the most beloved, but he's up there, which continues to amaze me. I guess if Barry ever wants to revamp his image, he should stop engaging in dangerous activities that teach children the wrong life lessons (steroid use), and just find a way to contract HIV.
   14. Yeaarrgghhhh Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:44 AM (#4091060)
I think you're selling Ty Wigginton a little short.
   15. toratoratora Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:54 AM (#4091074)
So Frank paid $430 million (With nada out of pocket) in 2004 to buy the team,pulled countless millions out and used it as a personal bank account,partitioned the company and saddled the franchise with debt for years to come, then sold it a mere 8 years later for 5 times what he paid...and got to keep the parking lots to boot?
I never wanna hear an owner complain about not making money again
   16. Anonymous Observer Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:56 AM (#4091077)
I never wanna hear an owner complain about not making money again


Unfortunately, you will anyway.
   17. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 09:58 AM (#4091079)
I guess if Barry ever wants to revamp his image, he should stop engaging in dangerous activities that teach children the wrong life lessons (steroid use), and just find a way to contract HIV.


If Barry would smile, not be a total prick, and repent on his mistakes and teach others not to make the same mistakes, then yea, he'd probably be pretty popular too.
   18. toratoratora Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:00 AM (#4091080)
Unfortunately, you will anyway.


Oh, I know...and usually I don't object to the financial posturing and games...but this profit, coupled with McCourt's behavior, is outright obscene.
   19. AROM Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:01 AM (#4091082)
The Angels got 3 billion over 20 years for their TV deal. Discount that by 5% per year and the present value is still 1.9 billion. Dodgers are probably looking at the Angels' deal as a floor for their next TV deal.

Crazy as it sounds, Magic and crew might have gotten a bargain here. Who are the guys actually putting in the billions? No way Magic and Kasten have anything more than a small stake in this.
   20. AROM Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:02 AM (#4091083)
What would the Yankees (plus YES) go for at this point? 4, 5 billion?

The Steinbrenners have never been, to my knowledge, on the Forbes list of billionaires. If they sold, they would be.
   21. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:05 AM (#4091086)
How do we not have $200M payrolls across baseball?
   22. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:06 AM (#4091088)
i posted bill shaikin's version (LA Times). apparently mccourt is still in partial control of the parking lots, which really makes the mind reel. he comes out of this way ahead even after paying off all his debt and his divorce, and continues to make money off the team.

Yeah, this is as sickening an example of greed, extravagance, decadence, ostentatiousness and let-them-eat-cakishness I've ever seen in my life. The economy, if you want to call it that, is so disjointed from reality its hard to comprehend.


dude, i know you want to live up to your handle, but you must be aware of what's in play here, right? the sport is raking in money by the truckload. these guys bidding on the dodgers are hard @ssed business men who see a chance to make a solid return on their investment. the size of the pie they are slicing up here is enormous. the dodgers have been a crummy team for the last season or two and they still drew over 3 million.

i don't know, maybe we're talking past each other. do you find it 'decadent' that professional sports has so much money in it nowadays?
   23. The Long Arm of Rudy Law Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:07 AM (#4091089)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?


Magic's new employee Vin Scully is up there.
   24. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:09 AM (#4091093)
Who are the guys actually putting in the billions? No way Magic and Kasten have anything more than a small stake in this.


The controlling owner would be Mark Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services company. from bill shaikin's article posted late last night. they put up the lion's share of the cash.
   25. billyshears Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:13 AM (#4091097)
The Mets may be underleveraged.
   26. tshipman Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:14 AM (#4091099)
he comes out of this way ahead even after paying off all his debt and his divorce, and continues to make money off the team.


Man. #### Frank McCourt.

At least I can rest soundly knowing he'll be bankrupt within 5 years.
   27. vortex of dissipation Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:15 AM (#4091101)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?


Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
   28. Kyle S at work Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4091103)
I take away a couple of lessons from this:

1) Fox really got fleeced when they sold the team. Even considering how much the market for TV rights has changed, they did an incredibly poor job of selling an iconic asset.

2) If this is the new reality for franchise values, the Wilpons are in good shape. Good news Mets fans!

3) The Dodgers are about to start spending again, probably starting this offseason. Better win now, Snakes and Giants.

4) McCourt will obviously still do very well no matter what. However, he's got Jamie to pay, deferred income tax, a huge capital gains tax bill, and hundreds of millions of franchise debt. All in, he'll take home hundreds of millions and the parking lots (what is it with parking lots?!) so I'm sure he doesn't care.
   29. Sean Forman Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:17 AM (#4091104)

dude, i know you want to live up to your handle, but you must be aware of what's in play here, right? the sport is raking in money by the truckload. these guys bidding on the dodgers are hard @ssed business men who see a chance to make a solid return on their investment. the size of the pie they are slicing up here is enormous. the dodgers have been a crummy team for the last season or two and they still drew over 3 million.


MLB is so overdue for expansion it's ridiculous. Two new teams would have to raise nearly $1.4b in expansion fees.

Also, if I'm a AA or AAA owner I would at least have a discussion with the other 7 most successful owners about what it would take to form a serious competitor to the major leagues.

Edit: You would need to find cities with good size populations and some fortune 500 companies. Maybe Omaha, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Hartford, Somewhere in New Jersey, Montreal, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Richmond, Alabama, San Jose, LA exurbs, Sacramento, Mexico City, and maybe one more in MX. There that is a 16-team league, nearly all with existing stadiums. Could also look at Santo Domingo and San Juan.
   30. Guapo Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:18 AM (#4091105)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?


TEBOW
   31. Karl from NY Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:25 AM (#4091109)
This article on it was linked in yesterday's dugout. http://www.latimes.com/sports/basketball/nba/lakers/la-sp-0329-dodgers-magic-20120329,0,5012740.story

Notice the URL? The Dodgers get bought but the story goes into the LAKERS section of the LA Times. Any more doubt that LA is a basketball town?
   32. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:29 AM (#4091112)
imho, bud selig played this beautifully. he managed to get an unbelievable high price for the franchise, which is always his bedrock strategy. but the team was bought not by some deep pocketed billionaire like mark cuban who could become a thorn in bud's side but by a group financed by a company that will want to see a return on its investment whose public face is a popular figure like magic johnson.
   33. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:33 AM (#4091117)
The Dodgers get bought but the story goes into the LAKERS section of the LA Times. Any more doubt that LA is a basketball town?


that's more about magic than anything else. it'll change. the lakers are headed for a decline. if kasten makes a few good moves that pay off and the dodgers start contending, the order will be reversed.
   34. Karl from NY Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4091119)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?

Ali probably is tops. Hank Aaron. Bird is right up there with Magic. Dale Earnhardt Jr was a good call upthread. Andre Agassi could be if his son develops into a serious competitor to keep him in the news.
   35. fra paolo Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4091120)
There that is a 16-team league, nearly all with existing stadiums.

And it is a minor league, with smaller markets on the fringes of big ones at best. That is not particularly attractive to broadcasters. What's the long-term strategy, an AFL/NFL-style merger? They benefited from a national TV contract with a major network.
   36. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:36 AM (#4091121)
This is apparently an all cash deal, according to the NYT. Doesn't that mean there will be no delayed payments?
   37. Cabbage Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:38 AM (#4091122)
At least once source thinks MLB might not approve. I can't see why, this seems (for the reasons in #32) like its exactly what Bud wants. But its an interesting possibility to note.

It remains to be seen whether Major League Baseball will challenge the deal in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware, where the case is before Judge Kevin Gross.

Under an agreement reached by MLB and McCourt in November, a private auction was to be held among the finalists and McCourt was to select the winner by Sunday. The sales agreement is to be submitted to the bankruptcy court by April 6, ahead of a hearing seven days later, and the sale completed by April 30, the day McCourt is to make the divorce settlement payment.



The NPR report also mentions the failed bidders

The other two finalists were:

— Stan Kroenke, whose family properties own the NFL's St. Louis Rams, the NBA's Denver Nuggets, the NHL's Colorado Avalanche and Major League Soccer's Colorado Rapids, and who is majority shareholder of Arsenal in the English Premier League.

— Steven Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and a new limited partner of the New York Mets; biotechnology entrepreneur Patrick Soon-Shiong; and agent Arn Tellem of Wasserman Media Group.


Baron Von Link
   38. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:39 AM (#4091124)
At least once source thinks MLB might not approve. I can't see why, this seems (for the reasons in #32) like its exactly what Bud wants. But its an interesting possibility to note.


This makes no sense if MLB already approved the finalists. Why would they then vote them down? As I understand it, there's nothing in this deal that is news to the owners. They've already seen the whole package. McCourt merely selected the winner of the "auction."
   39. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4091127)
Also, according to the NYT last night (may have changed), McCourt does not keep the lots. He enters into an partnership with this ownership group, but basically what the "partnership" does is repay his loan to MLB and Magic & co. keep the lots when the loan is repayed.
   40. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:41 AM (#4091128)
imho, bud selig played this beautifully. he managed to get an unbelievable high price for the franchise, which is always his bedrock strategy. but the team was bought not by some deep pocketed billionaire like mark cuban who could become a thorn in bud's side but by a group financed by a company that will want to see a return on its investment whose public face is a popular figure like magic johnson.

"return on its investment" means free new stadium. That's especially hard to accomplish in California, but I'm sure they'll give it a go. When do we see the first news stories about the crumbling and decrepit Dodger Stadium and the rivulets of urine that spill onto its concourses?
   41. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:43 AM (#4091132)
1) Fox really got fleeced when they sold the team. Even considering how much the market for TV rights has changed, they did an incredibly poor job of selling an iconic asset.


News Corp stuck the team with a long term TV deal that at the time was low. A lot of people kicked the tires and would have paid more, but not without tearing up that TV deal.

2) If this is the new reality for franchise values, the Wilpons are in good shape. Good news Mets fans!


The Mets owners have already cashed in on the new value of TV rights so, unlike the Dodgers, their revenues are unlikely to change dramatically.

3) The Dodgers are about to start spending again, probably starting this offseason. Better win now, Snakes and Giants.


There are already rumors that the front office is looking at potential trade deadline pickups. It seems likely that payroll will be in the $150 million range and that is about a 50% jump over what it has been lately.

4) McCourt will obviously still do very well no matter what. However, he's got Jamie to pay, deferred income tax, a huge capital gains tax bill, and hundreds of millions of franchise debt. All in, he'll take home hundreds of millions and the parking lots (what is it with parking lots?!) so I'm sure he doesn't care


His debts are in the $1-$1.1 billion range (including Jamie). He is going to walk with over $1 billion (likely less than that NPV).


   42. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:44 AM (#4091134)
You would need to find cities with good size populations and some fortune 500 companies. Maybe Omaha, Portland, Charlotte, ...


bring back the brooklyn robins!
   43. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:46 AM (#4091135)
"return on its investment" means free new stadium. That's especially hard to accomplish in California, but I'm sure they'll give it a go. When do we see the first news stories about the crumbling and decrepit Dodger Stadium and the rivulets of urine that spill onto its concourses?


or maybe a major renovation spun as a savings for the taxpayer over a new stadium?
   44. Sean Forman Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:48 AM (#4091136)

And it is a minor league, with smaller markets on the fringes of big ones at best. That is not particularly attractive to broadcasters. What's the long-term strategy, an AFL/NFL-style merger? They benefited from a national TV contract with a major network.


I'm not saying this is a final business plan, but there are a number of potential broadcast partners out there who may be interested in such a thing. You could also do something like make the NPB, KBO, and the agents partners to improve the talent level. You could situate it so that you play from Feb. 1 to July 15th, so that your players could then sign contracts with MLB teams for the stretch run. If you could support payrolls in the $30-50m range, you could sign some reasonably good players and the onfield product would be comparable to MLB. Maybe that isn't possible, but MLB seems like it is extracting monopoly profits here and it seems to me there is a chance to make a move here.
   45. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:49 AM (#4091137)
This makes no sense if MLB already approved the finalists. Why would they then vote them down? As I understand it, there's nothing in this deal that is news to the owners. They've already seen the whole package. McCourt merely selected the winner of the "auction."


The debt/equity structure of the deal. Basically, MLB might say that they need more cash upfront and less debt... err financing.
   46. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 10:51 AM (#4091140)
There are already rumors that the front office is looking at potential trade deadline pickups. It seems likely that payroll will be in the $150 million range and that is about a 50% jump over what it has been lately.


i love this.

btw, i predicted two things in earlier threads on this subject: that the kasten group was the favorite, and that the dodgers will win the WS this year.

so i'm already batting .500.

excuse me, i have to go and take my meds now.
   47. musial6 Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:01 AM (#4091150)
the sport is raking in money by the truckload. these guys bidding on the dodgers are hard @ssed business men who see a chance to make a solid return on their investment. the size of the pie they are slicing up here is enormous. the dodgers have been a crummy team for the last season or two and they still drew over 3 million.


Not quite: 2,935,139

Essentially they are banking on being able to turn the Dodgers into the West Coast Yankees - a concept which hinges on the team being viewed as contenders year-in-year out...that's easier said than done.
   48. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:07 AM (#4091156)
Essentially they are banking on being able to turn the Dodgers into the West Coast Yankees - a concept which hinges on the team being viewed as contenders year-in-year out...that's easier said than done.


i agree, that is going to be their long term strategy, as it would be with any ownership change. in the short term, this new group is going to get a big benefit-of-the-doubt year and see an uptick in attendance. so they've got a year to work with.
   49. fra paolo Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:11 AM (#4091160)
a concept which hinges on the team being viewed as contenders year-in-year out...that's easier said than done.

But it appears at the moment that it is easier done in the NL West than the AL East.
   50. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:16 AM (#4091163)
Not quite: 2,935,139


my bad, i missed by what 64K? they drew 3.5 million in 2010, so they've averaged well over 3 mil. in the two years i mentioned.

take a look at that 2011 number by the way. they averaged 64% capacity and drew that attendance. they were 11th in the majors in attendance. the next lowest figure was 74%. no one else in the top ten was under 85% capacity. there is room for serious improvement.
   51. Crispix reaches boiling point with lackluster play Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:23 AM (#4091172)
Based entirely on fan embarrassment with their detestable owner, the Dodgers had 7,000 fewer fans per game last year than they did in any season between 2005 and 2010, despite having a winning record and the Cy Young winner and MVP should-be-winner. No wonder the owner is getting rewarded so richly with this new deal - there's so much room for improvement!
   52. billyshears Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4091174)
At least once source thinks MLB might not approve. I can't see why, this seems (for the reasons in #32) like its exactly what Bud wants. But its an interesting possibility to note.


I think MLB has at least some interest in quashing the deal. Theoretically, a $2 billion valuation helps all owners, but as of today, it only actually helps 1 former owner. I also think there is a decent argument that this valuation doesn't really affect the valuation of middle and small market teams. And most MLB owners don't really want to sell in any case, so they're unlikely to ever really recoup the benefits of this kind of valuation. But if this $2 billion number is out there, the players are going to be a royal pain in the ass in the next CBA. Granted, that's five years off, but this deals may make it a little too clear how ####### awesome it is to be an MLB team owner for Bud's comfort.
   53. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:31 AM (#4091177)
Also, if I'm a AA or AAA owner I would at least have a discussion with the other 7 most successful owners about what it would take to form a serious competitor to the major leagues.

Edit: You would need to find cities with good size populations and some fortune 500 companies. Maybe Omaha, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Hartford, Somewhere in New Jersey, Montreal, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Richmond, Alabama, San Jose, LA exurbs, Sacramento, Mexico City, and maybe one more in MX. There that is a 16-team league, nearly all with existing stadiums. Could also look at Santo Domingo and San Juan.


No way this happens, but just for fun:

Continental League East
Brooklyn Robins
Charlotte Knights
Columbus Calvary
Indianapolis Racers
Montreal Expos
Nashville Bulldogs
New Jersey Dragons
Orlando Sunrays

Continental League West
Inland Empire Monarchs
Las Vegas Aces
Monterrey Toros
Oklahoma City Outlaws
Portland Herons
Sacramento Solons
San Jose Seals
Vancouver Foxes
   54. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:35 AM (#4091179)
I think MLB has at least some interest in quashing the deal. Theoretically, a $2 billion valuation helps all owners, but as of today, it only actually helps 1 former owner. I also think there is a decent argument that this valuation doesn't really affect the valuation of middle and small market teams. And most MLB owners don't really want to sell in any case, so they're unlikely to ever really recoup the benefits of this kind of valuation. But if this $2 billion number is out there, the players are going to be a royal pain in the ass in the next CBA. Granted, that's five years off, but this deals may make it a little too clear how ####### awesome it is to be an MLB team owner for Bud's comfort.


I think the players are pretty satisfied with the way things are going right now. They seem to be getting a solid share of the revenue and they have no interest in establishing a salary floor since would open them up to a salary cap. At "worst" I can see a push to drastically hike up the minimum salary but even pushing that to a million/year would have a fairly modest impact in general to the clubs. Put half a 40 man roster on the minimum salary and you're talking about ~$10 million total.

To offset this the clubs get a massive improvement in club valuation. If the guy next door to me wants to sell his house for twice what I think it's worth, I may not benefit today but when I sell my house that is going to help me an awful lot.
   55. billyshears Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:46 AM (#4091187)
I think the players are pretty satisfied with the way things are going right now. They seem to be getting a solid share of the revenue and they have no interest in establishing a salary floor since would open them up to a salary cap. At "worst" I can see a push to drastically hike up the minimum salary but even pushing that to a million/year would have a fairly modest impact in general to the clubs. Put half a 40 man roster on the minimum salary and you're talking about ~$10 million total.

To offset this the clubs get a massive improvement in club valuation. If the guy next door to me wants to sell his house for twice what I think it's worth, I may not benefit today but when I sell my house that is going to help me an awful lot.


I generally agree with this, but my recollection (and I admit my recollection may not be 100% accurate) is that MLB is not always concerned that it's owners get top dollar when they sell. If you have no interest in ever selling your house, you may be less pleased that your property value is going up than you are annoyed that your property taxes are going up.
   56. Swedish Chef Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:52 AM (#4091197)
I think MLB has at least some interest in quashing the deal. Theoretically, a $2 billion valuation helps all owners, but as of today, it only actually helps 1 former owner. I also think there is a decent argument that this valuation doesn't really affect the valuation of middle and small market teams.

Firstly, it would look like they reneged, Bud cares about the image of baseball. Secondly, it might not be in their power, there's a court involved here. Thirdly, the alternative may well be McCourt refinancing based on this valuation and keeping the team forever and ever.
   57. Sean Forman Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:54 AM (#4091200)

No way this happens, but just for fun:

Continental League East
Brooklyn Robins
Charlotte Knights
Columbus Calvary
Indianapolis Racers
Montreal Expos
Nashville Bulldogs
New Jersey Dragons
Orlando Sunrays

Continental League West
Inland Empire Monarchs
Las Vegas Aces
Monterrey Toros
Oklahoma City Outlaws
Portland Herons
Sacramento Solons
San Jose Seals
Vancouver Foxes


You picked some better cities than I had, so I'll bring you on board as a VP. Also all of those cities, but a few have major league sports already, so as long as you can get your cost structure around $50m or so you might be able to make a go of it.
   58. Booey Posted: March 28, 2012 at 11:57 AM (#4091207)
Edit: You would need to find cities with good size populations and some fortune 500 companies. Maybe Omaha, Portland, Charlotte, San Antonio, Hartford, Somewhere in New Jersey, Montreal, Salt Lake City, Oklahoma City, Nashville, Richmond, Alabama, San Jose, LA exurbs, Sacramento, Mexico City, and maybe one more in MX. There that is a 16-team league, nearly all with existing stadiums. Could also look at Santo Domingo and San Juan

Yes, yes, a million times, yes! I'd tattoo the teams logo on my face and walk around town for hours every day to advertise if it would get SLC a Major League team!
   59. alilisd Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4091212)
Magic's new employee Vin Scully is up there.


No way. Scully has very little appeal beyond la and outside of baseball.
   60. McCoy Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4091213)
I wonder if I'll get free tickets as part of my employee benefit plan.
   61. musial6 Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:06 PM (#4091217)
But it appears at the moment that it is easier done in the NL West than the AL East.


It's true that the Dodgers typically have an easier path to the postseason tournament than the Yankees, but it's not enough to just qualify for the playoffs most years - they need to break through and win - or at least make - the World Series.

TV Ratings are higher when the fans genuinely believe they could be watching a championship season - that happens when the team has a breakout 'team-of-destiny' type year, and also in the afterglow seasons following deep postseason runs when fans believe (sometimes correctly) that their team can be dangerous in a short series.

For the Dodgers to become the West Coast Yankees, they will need to create a culture where their fans believe every year is their year - not just to win the NL West, but to win the World Series.
   62. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4091219)
The debt/equity structure of the deal. Basically, MLB might say that they need more cash upfront and less debt... err financing.


But as I said above, this is an all cash deal, according to the NYT article last night. Why wouldn't this get approved, especially since the MLB owners already approved the finalists? This discussion doesn't make sense. Someone please enlighten me.
   63. TomH Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:11 PM (#4091227)
Scully - "little appeal beyond LA"? Is that like opining that John Williams has little appeal outside of Star Wars fans, or serious fans of orchestration?
   64. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:31 PM (#4091249)
No way. Scully has very little appeal beyond la and outside of baseball.


This is one of the most idiotic things I've seen posted on BBTF.
   65. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:35 PM (#4091254)
Scully has appeal, but I wouldn't say he's all that famous outside of baseball circles or LA circles.
   66. Mark Donelson Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:36 PM (#4091256)
Andre Agassi could be if his son develops into a serious competitor to keep him in the news.

Really? I think it's too late already. I bet I could find you a 25-year-old sports fan who doesn't know who Andre Agassi even is.
   67. GregD Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:41 PM (#4091262)
I love Scully more than any of the other people mentioned but I would agree with AG. My wife, for example, has no idea who Vin Scully is--she's more likely to think of the art historian. But she of course would recognize Ali and Magic in a second. Among the beloved, they're the most recognizable. And among the recognizable, they're the most beloved, as far as I can see.
   68. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:43 PM (#4091264)
Scully has appeal, but I wouldn't say he's all that famous outside of baseball circles or LA circles.


There are those of us who remember Scully calling the World Series. I lived in Maine and Boston and I knew who Vin Scully was. About 50% (less recently, but it's pretty close) of Americans identify as baseball fans. I'm guessing there are many millions of people who know who Vin Scully is outside of LA.
   69. spike Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:58 PM (#4091284)
"And heeeere come the rebuttals!"
   70. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 12:59 PM (#4091287)
There are those of us who remember Scully calling the World Series.


Vin Scully hasn't done a national TV broadcast of the WS since 1988. There are millions of people that know who Vin Scully is. But I would guess there are many many more millions that don't unfortunately.

And c'mon, he's a broadcaster. I don't even think Joe Buck is all that famous to the general public. People like Joe Buck and Vin Scully are recognizable to sports fans. People like Magic Johnson and Andre Agassi are recognizable to my mom.

Frankly, part of the reason Vin isn't more famous is the reason he is so beloved. Its never been about him. Its been about the game he's calling.
   71. The Piehole of David Wells Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:05 PM (#4091297)
recognizable to sports fans


Exactly. My point is that there are millions of people who identify as sports fans. I'm sure you can find many millions of people who don't know who Joe Buck (or Vin Scully) is, but this is quicly turning into a pointless debate parsing the meaning of "fame" and "recognizable." Maybe people can't name Joe Buck, but that doesn't mean that all of the people who flip past the channel haven't heard his voice before. I can't name a single one of the actors on the (awful!) TV show "Parenthood," but that doesn't mean those people aren't famous or recognizable, even by me. I'm sticking with my original comment on this topic. It's idiotic to say that Vin Scully is not recognizable, not famous, or has no appeal outside of baseball or LA. That is like saying, as TomH pointed out, that John Williams is not famous if you exclude all of the people who know who he is.

   72. Rants Mulliniks Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:08 PM (#4091302)
i don't know, maybe we're talking past each other. do you find it 'decadent' that professional sports has so much money in it nowadays?


Yes, I find it repulsive that there is so much income disparity in the the US than an owner can make money after spending $2B on a sports team when 46 million people are on food stamps, 25% of the population is unemployed or under-employed, and 25% of its children live in poverty. When 80% of the population can't afford to take the fam to a ballgame (or hockey, basketball or football) more than once or twice a season, the model is ######.
   73. Pat Rapper's Delight Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:11 PM (#4091308)
BTW, is it safe to say that Magic is the most beloved living sports figure in America? I mean, who else? Ali?

Is Michael Jordan dead and I missed the story? He's been retired 10 years and shoes with his name on them still cause riots on their release date.
   74. Srul Itza Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4091316)
MLB is so overdue for expansion it's ridiculous. Two new teams would have to raise nearly $1.4b in expansion fees.

Also, if I'm a AA or AAA owner I would at least have a discussion with the other 7 most successful owners about what it would take to form a serious competitor to the major leagues.


Aah, you're just looking to add content.
   75. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:16 PM (#4091317)
Maybe people can't name Joe Buck, but that doesn't mean that all of the people who flip past the channel haven't heard his voice before. I can't name a single one of the actors on the (awful!) TV show "Parenthood," but that doesn't mean those people aren't famous or recognizable, even by me. I'm sticking with my original comment on this topic. It's idiotic to say that Vin Scully is not recognizable, not famous, or has no appeal outside of baseball or LA. That is like saying, as TomH pointed out, that John Williams is not famous if you exclude all of the people who know who he is.L


Fair enough, but I think that's what I mean by "he's not all that famous." Sure, the people from Parenthood are famous, moreso than I certainly, but they're not all that famous if many people can't identify their names. And if we're talking about the most beloved sports figures, we're talking about people that transcend sport, that like I said, my mom can identify. And Vin Scully really doesn't come close to meeting that threshhold.
   76. The Mighty Quintana Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:17 PM (#4091319)
Other beloved, besides Magic? Hmmm.....

Joe Montana
Wayne Gretzky (esp north of the border)
Cal Ripken
Sugar Ray Leonard

   77. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4091328)
I think Jordan is far and away #1 with Brady and Lebron in the running for number two. I think James probably has a higher negative rating than most of the top athletes.
   78. The Good Face Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:22 PM (#4091331)
Is Michael Jordan dead and I missed the story? He's been retired 10 years and shoes with his name on them still cause riots on their release date.


Jordan is respected and admired, but he's also ruthless, vindictive, and unforgiving, and those character traits are no secret. It's tough to be the most beloved when you're widely regarded as a nasty jerkass.
   79. Jeff Frances the Mute Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:24 PM (#4091334)
But as I said above, this is an all cash deal, according to the NYT article last night. Why wouldn't this get approved, especially since the MLB owners already approved the finalists? This discussion doesn't make sense. Someone please enlighten me.


It is very unlikely that this is actually an all cash deal.
   80. charityslave is thinking about baseball Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:28 PM (#4091340)
McCourt finally has enough cash on hand to be a legitimate owner of a MLB franchise.
   81. I am going to be Frank Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:29 PM (#4091344)
Is Michael Jordan dead and I missed the story? He's been retired 10 years and shoes with his name on them still cause riots on their release date.


I was looking for Jordan. There are kids that weren't born yet and still know his exploits.
   82. TerpNats Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:31 PM (#4091347)
McCourt finally has enough cash on hand to be a legitimate owner of a MLB franchise.
Don't give him ideas.
   83. Srul Itza Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:33 PM (#4091353)
At least once source thinks MLB might not approve.


Where do you get this from? It is an unsourced throw-away line from an article: "It remains to be seen whether Major League Baseball will challenge the deal."

By the same token, it also "remains to be seen" whether Obama will be the democratic nominee.
   84. Booey Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:35 PM (#4091361)
I think James probably has a higher negative rating than most of the top athletes.

Kobe.

Shaq is still pretty widely recognized without being despised, right?
   85. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:41 PM (#4091370)
Jordan is respected and admired, but he's also ruthless, vindictive, and unforgiving, and those character traits are no secret. It's tough to be the most beloved when you're widely regarded as a nasty jerkass.


Except I don't think he is widely regarded as a nasty jerkass. He may well BE a nasty jerkass but I think he is both widely known and viewed positively.

And as much as we may hate to admit it 'round these parts, Derek Jeter is immensely popular. I think he was mentioned earlier but he's on a short list.
   86. phredbird Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:43 PM (#4091373)
out of all the names that are being thrown around, i'd say magic has the highest recogntion with the lowest negative associations. jordan may be more well known, but not as universally admired. ali would be if he were healthier and more active publicly. ymmv.
   87. GregD Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:51 PM (#4091385)
Jordan is as famous as Ali but I don't think he's beloved in the same way. Jordan inspires awe. Ali and Magic inspire something more like love.
   88. Booey Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:52 PM (#4091386)
And as much as we may hate to admit it 'round these parts, Derek Jeter is immensely popular. I think he was mentioned earlier but he's on a short list.

Jeremy Lin! Didn't he recently beat Jeter in a poll about beloved NYC athletes? :)
   89. Cabbage Posted: March 28, 2012 at 01:59 PM (#4091390)
Where do you get this from? It is an unsourced throw-away line from an article: "It remains to be seen whether Major League Baseball will challenge the deal."

Yeah, it seems insane that MLB wouldn't approve, so I found it surprising. by Source, I meant NPR.

If MLB doesn't approve, I'll eat Magic Johnson's hat.
   90. alilisd Posted: March 28, 2012 at 02:26 PM (#4091407)
This is one of the most idiotic things I've seen posted on BBTF.


In terms of whether he's one of the most beloved sports figures in America, I disagree.
   91. just plain joe Posted: March 28, 2012 at 02:38 PM (#4091418)
This is one of the most idiotic things I've seen posted on BBTF.


Well, that certainly covers a wide territory.
   92. Random Transaction Generator Posted: March 28, 2012 at 02:52 PM (#4091431)
The problem with Jordan is that he really sullied the end of his career by unretiring and playing with the Wizards. It just made him look desperate and sad.
Throw in the stories of his heavy gambling and womanizing (while married) and he comes off as a bit unsavory.

At least Magic's unretirement had a storyline of '#### HIV'.

I think Cal Ripken is the closest one to Magic in terms of "recognized and beloved", but Jeter is pretty close, too.

In Canada, it's Wayne Gretzky or Jean Beliveau.
   93. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: March 28, 2012 at 02:54 PM (#4091435)
So, any predictions on how they run the team? Is Magic going to be the one that will be calling the shots?
   94. Walt Davis Posted: March 28, 2012 at 03:18 PM (#4091473)
So not Tiger Woods then? :-)

And of course Vin Scully doesn't even make the radar. He is not a national figure. And even those who do remember him calling the World Series from 25+ years ago -- how does that give them a reason to "love" him?

Now, sure, if you spend 162 days/nights a year listening to Scully then he might well be beloved to you. But that's a very small slice of the population.

And, to be honest, if you took a national poll of broadcaster name recognition, I'm not sure Scully would beat Harry Caray and I assume he'd be behind Madden (though would happily be wrong about either of those) and it wouldn't surprise me if Bob Uecker finished ahead of him. Has Scully ever done a national advertising spot (i.e. with his face, not his voice).

Now, Scully as one of the most beloved _voices_ -- you might have something.
   95. Athletic Supporter can feel the slow rot Posted: March 28, 2012 at 03:32 PM (#4091487)
Michael Phelps and, even though he is not American, Usain Bolt have to be in the picture.

Americans eat that patriotic Olympic #### right up.
   96. alilisd Posted: March 28, 2012 at 03:40 PM (#4091496)
It's idiotic to say that Vin Scully is not recognizable, not famous, or has no appeal outside of baseball or LA.


Nice strawman. Who said that? No one.

In response to someone who thought Vin Scully could be considered one of the most beloved (not recognizable, not famous) living sports figures in America, I said he had very little (not no)appeal beyond la and outside of baseball, which is true. As Walt said, he is not a national figure. He's a local figure and well known to many baseball fans, which certainly would make him beloved in those limited arenas, but to be beloved nationally requires a greater reach than Scully has.
   97. Jose Is The Most Absurd Thing on the Site Posted: March 28, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4091502)
I said he had very little (not no)appeal beyond la and outside of baseball, which is true.


I think half of that is true. I think he is still popular (though maybe not thought of frequently) around the country. The baseball part is probably very true.
   98. Ebessan Posted: March 28, 2012 at 03:46 PM (#4091504)
"Magic Johnson", the Irish author, right?
   99. Blackadder Posted: March 28, 2012 at 04:04 PM (#4091535)
I would guess that more people around the country would recognize Joe Buck than Vin Scully.
   100. DL from MN Posted: March 28, 2012 at 04:14 PM (#4091558)
Peyton Manning?
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