The operator of the Los Angeles Marathon said Friday that he has reached an agreement to sell the race to an investor group led by L.A. businessmen David Kingsdale and Russ Pillar for an undisclosed amount of money.
The sale, which would take several weeks to be completed, is being driven by Chicago-based Devine Racing Management's need to raise cash to pay creditors from past marathons in Los Angeles and Las Vegas. There have been missed or delayed payments to some vendors and bounced paychecks for race-day workers.
Company founder Chris Devine on Friday shouldered the blame for the financial difficulties that have dogged the L.A. Marathon for two years.
"This is all on me," Devine said during a phone interview. "I disappointed the market, the running community and I disappointed myself . . . To own the L.A. Marathon and screw it up is a monumental failure.
"The new folks have a good opportunity," he said. "They're going to really capitalize the race and take advantage of this situation."
Kingsdale on Friday declined to comment on the deal, saying only that "we look forward to completing a transaction in the near future."
It was uncertain what role L.A. Marathon founders Bill Burke and Marie Patrick would play once a deal is closed. Burke, who along with Patrick had retained management roles after Devine bought rights to the race in 2004 for a reported $15 million, on Friday declined to comment on his future role with the race.
Any sale of the operating rights must be approved by the city, which owns the race.
Devine, who had been struggling to increase the number of elite runners in the L.A. Marathon, said that the sale of the Banco Popular Half Marathon in Chicago earlier this week to a Dallas-based race operator, and the sale of the L.A. race, would generate sufficient funds to pay what he owes in Las Vegas.
Devine also said that upon completing the L.A. deal, his company would have sufficient cash to "completely clean the slate in Los Angeles."
Kingsdale, an avid runner, owns DLK Inc., an entertainment and media company. Pillar most recently was vice chairman of the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour, Inc., and previously was an executive with Viacom and Sportsline.com.