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GET ON THE BUSS? LAKERS BOSS INTERESTED IN BUYING DODGERS
Published January 9, 1997
Lakers Owner Jerry Buss is the latest to express interest in buying the Dodgers, according to Hiltzik, Bates & Cooper of the L.A. TIMES, who note, Buss "has never hid his interests in expanding his horizons to football or baseball." Buss said, through a spokesperson, "I'm the biggest Dodgers fan in Los Angeles. I'd like to be part of a group that buys them." Buss also owns the Forum and owned the NHL Kings from '79-88. Despite interested parties, L.A. Mayor Richard Riordan said such talk is "premature because [Dodgers President] Peter O'Malley hasn't even set up a process yet" for accepting bids. Riordan said he briefly considered bidding for at least a part ownership in the team, but "quickly abandoned the idea because it might conflict with his role as mayor" (L.A. TIMES, 1/9). THE USUAL SUSPECTS: News Corp. Chair Rupert Murdoch is taking a "wait-and-see" approach amid speculation he may buy the team, according to Tom Hoffarth of the L.A. DAILY NEWS. Fox Sports spokesperson Vince Wladika: "Ever since our high- profile entrance into the world of sports, Mr. Murdoch and Fox seem to have a perpetual place on the 'usual suspects' list" (L.A. DAILY NEWS, 1/9). Responses from other companies rumored to be interested: Peter Wilkes, Sony Corp. of America VP/Exec Communications: "There is no interest at this point." Nike spokesperson Jim Small: "There's always speculation about us buying a sports franchise, but we choose not to comment" (USA TODAY, 1/9). Peter Ueberroth, another potential buyer, was interviewed on CNBC's "Business Insiders." Ueberroth stated "chances are" his group would make a bid, "and the chances are it won't be successful." Ueberroth: "[T]his is a very, very premier sports franchise, maybe the best in the whole world. And I think that it will go for a very high price, and my group is economic buyers, and we have to do it to make it make sense financially ... somebody else can approach it with a different kind of look" (CNBC, 1/8). MORE SUSPECTS: People Magazine's Mitchell Fink listed some rumored potential buyers for the Dodgers, which include Magic Johnson, Tommy Lasorda, Marvin Davis, Planet Hollywood and Michael Ovitz, among others. Fink: "Ovitz's name is especially intriguing because he could really stick it to Disney, owner of the rival Anaheim Angels, by using the severance pay he just received from Disney as a down payment for the Dodgers. O'Malley said on Monday he didn't want the sale of the team to become a circus. I say, 'fat chance'" ("Showbiz Today," CNN, 1/8). ONE GLOVE: Jay Leno, on lawyer Robert Shapiro's interest: "Imagine if he bought the team? Suddenly none of the gloves would fit" ("Tonight Show," NBC, 1/8). ESPN's Keith Olbermann, on Shapiro: "Well, he's always had success with guys who had one glove" ("SportsCenter," ESPN, 1/8).