SBD/Issue 86/Franchises

McCourt Says Fans Standing By Dodgers Despite Quiet Offseason

McCourt Maintains That Dodgers Fans Remain
Supportive Of Team's Direction
Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt Friday said that the fans "he has spoken to stand firmly behind the team," despite the fact that the Dodgers have "stayed on the sidelines of the free agent market this winter and their season-ticket sales are down," according to Dylan Hernandez of the L.A. TIMES. McCourt: "They're very excited about the team. They're very supportive of what we're doing." Meanwhile, McCourt said that the team's "lack of activity in the free-agent market should not be interpreted as a sign that his team is facing financial difficulties as a result of his personal situation." McCourt: "My divorce has no bearing on the club whatsoever" (L.A. TIMES, 1/16). ESPNLOSANGELES.com's Tony Jackson noted the "matter of a legal claim to an ownership stake in the club" by McCourt's estranged wife, former Dodgers CEO Jamie McCourt, is "expected to be resolved" at a May 24 court hearing. Frank McCourt, when asked about potentially losing that hearing, said, "I own the team. Major League Baseball confirms that I own the team, and we are moving forward." Jackson wrote the "likelihood is that McCourt does have a plan in place in case things don't go his way in the courtroom, but he isn't about to tell the public what it is -- or even acknowledge that it exists." Meanwhile, McCourt added of the team's ticket and sponsorship sales, "We are very, very sensitive to the economy and to what that means to our fans and to families that support the Dodgers, but (the economic crisis) has been going on for over two years now. Notwithstanding that, we had the highest attendance in all of baseball last year, and we have another great year coming up." He added, "There is no question that companies are looking closely at how they can spend their sponsorship dollars differently right now, and we're adjusting to that and making sure we provide great value to our corporate partners. It's really all fine" (ESPNLOSANGELES.com, 1/15).

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