Magic Johnson and a group of investors expressed interest in buying MLB team the Los Angeles Dodgers late last year, and finally came to an agreement Tuesday night (March 27) to purchase the team from Frank McCourt for the bargain basement price of $2 billion.
The pricetag will be a record-breaking number for the sale of a sports franchise. Stephen Ross paid $1.1 billion for the NFL’s Miami Dolphins in 2009, and in England, Malcolm Glazer and his family took over the Manchester United soccer club in a deal then valued at $1.47 billion in 2005.
Now, the Dodgers will sell for $2 billion.
The deal, revealed about five hours after MLB owners approved three finalists for an intended auction, is one of several steps toward a sale of the team by the end of April.
It is first subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court.
“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,” Magic Johnson said in a statement Tuesday.
In addition to Johnson, longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, the former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals, is also among the group buying the team. And, Mark Walter (chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners) would become the controlling owner.
Johnson told ESPN that Kasten will be “the baseball man,” but will maintain an office at Dodge Stadium. His duties will include recruiting free agents … and help rebuild the Dodger brand who may have lost fans during the recent turmoil.
“I won’t get in Stan’s way. I won’t get in our manager’s way,” he said. “I will be heavily involved. I’m writing a big check here.”
As part of the agreement, the Johnson group would acquire half the land surrounding Dodger Stadium, including its parking lots, for $150 million, with McCourt keeping the other half.