Guggenheim's Boehly Says Company Sees Dodgers As An Entertainment Experience
Guggenheim Partners President & Dodgers co-Owner Todd Boehly yesterday said that his company's winning $2.1B bid for the franchise "was a reflection of how the consortium of new owners see the team: As an entertainment property," according to Alex Ben Block of the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. Boehly, speaking at a Business of Sports panel in Beverly Hills, said, "It was our job to treat it as an entertainment experience." The panel, moderated by TV sports personality Jim Gray and featuring tennis HOFer Jimmy Connors and hockey HOFer Wayne Gretzky, covered the "unprecedented amount of money paid for sports franchises, the high cost of talent, rapid inflation in major sports TV rights and the rising cost of cable TV for subscribers." Boehly's "logic also applied to Time Warner Cable's thinking in sewing up a $8 billion deal for TV rights to the Dodgers' games, only a year after it paid about $3 billion for the rights to show" Lakers games. TWC Exec VP and Chief Video & Content Officer Melinda Witmer said, "We need fans who are passionate about turning on the TV and watching the game or match, and it’s all about the entertainment value and the fan." Gretzky said, "You’re paid for two reasons as an athlete -- to entertain and to win" (HOLLYWOODREPORTER.com, 5/1). Connors said that tennis "broke out of the country club mold during his prime because players like him and John McEnroe realized it wasn't just about sports, it was about entertainment." Since then, the sport has "reverted to being more politically correct." He said that it "needs another shot in the arm to carry it to another level." Raine Group co-Founder & Partner Joseph Ravitch "rejected the notion that billionaires buy sports teams as an expensive vanity project or because they think they'll 'be able to flip it to some greater fool' down the line." He said that "very few of the sports franchise deals he has consummated involved emotion." Ravitch: "There's always an economic calculation to it" (CURRENCYOFIDEAS.TUMBLR.com, 5/1).