As McCourt Sifts Through 20 Bids, Former Investor Says It Was A "Mistake" To Sell To Him
Outgoing Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt and his investment bankers "received more than 20 bids to purchase" the team, according to an MLB official cited by Bob Nightengale of USA TODAY. McCourt "anticipates receiving $1.5 billion" in the sale, which would "be a record for a North American sports franchise." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said, "The number of groups is impressive. The people are impressive." McCourt will "submit a maximum list of 10 bidders to Major League Baseball for pre-approval, but he will make the final decision" on the buyer. Nightengale examines the "premier groups" in the running (USA TODAY, 1/25). In L.A., Bill Shaikin reported Grand Prix of America Exec Chair and former YES Network Chair & CEO Leo Hindery "is involved in the bidding" to purchase the team. Shaikin noted Hindery's involvement "could give Frank McCourt more confidence that the Dodgers might sell for more than $1.5 billion." A bid from Hindery "could trigger a surge of media interest that could lift the Dodgers sale price," putting it in the "range of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, rather than in the range of $1 billion to $1.5 billion" (LATIMES.com, 1/24). In St. Louis, Jim Thomas cites a baseball official as saying that he "was unaware" if Rams Owner Stan Kroenke "had followed through and actually made a bid" for the Dodgers. NFL sources said that any "interest Kroenke may or may not have in purchasing the Dodgers is mutually exclusive from anything going on with the St. Louis Rams -- be it the current stadium lease situation or any possible franchise relocation to Los Angeles, London, or wherever." Thomas: "One has nothing to do with the other" (STLTODAY.com, 1/25).
FORMER INVESTOR SPEAKS: In L.A., T.J. Simers notes former Dodgers Managing Partner Bob Daly "joined Fox in selling the Dodgers" to McCourt. Daly said, "We made a horrible mistake. We didn't realize what a bad guy he was." He added, "When we were going through the process of selling the team, McCourt seemed like an OK guy. I sat down with him and told him people here were under contract, but they've been like a family and so if he wanted to make changes, do so with respect. As everyone knows he didn't, so I told him off. ... He did some good things, but inherently he was not a nice guy. He put himself before the Dodgers, and this is a team owned by the fans and the city of Los Angeles." Daly said he has "zero desire" to join a group to purchase the Dodgers. He said, "At the right price it's a good investment. I can see over a billion, but that's if everything is included. ... Here's the test to see if we get a smart or stupid owner. If you make a deal and allow McCourt to keep the land and parking lots, you are out of your mind. At some point you are going to have to rip down Dodger Stadium and move it downtown. You don't want to deal with someone else owning the land" (L.A. TIMES, 1/25).
MCCOURT'S LEGACY: ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote McCourt "will be remembered as the Richard Nixon of baseball owners, as someone who inexplicably squandered enormous opportunity and went out the door in shame." Olney: "But here's the thing -- only because the team was run into the ground, so deeply that it went into bankruptcy, is McCourt now in position to operate the sale of the franchise mostly out of the control of Major League Baseball. Only because the team was run into the ground is McCourt now in position to sell the Dodgers for more than a billion dollars more than he paid for it" (ESPN.com, 1/24).