Today, Frank McCourt is no longer the official owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Today, Magic Johnson along with other investors are now the new owners. If you are a Dodger fan, today is a new beginning.
Frank McCourt may go down in L.A. sports history as the worst owner, a complete opposite to Lakers owner Jerry Buss. However, before fans line up snakelike around Dodger Stadium ticket booths, there are a couple of things that concern me about the deal.
First, despite the astonishing purchase price of $2.1 billion, a record for a sports franchise, McCourt is still part owner of the surrounding land around Dodger Stadium. This means that for the long-term future, McCourt will still be getting money from Angelenos, if not via parking fees, then any new development (think the L.A. Live/Nokia monster built around Staples Center).
The most outrageous aspect to the Dodger sale, however, is that McCourt, the same man who was responsible for the Dodger attendance to drop from 1st place to 11th place in 2 seasons, will reap a cool $1 billion since he bought the Dodgers in 2004 for just over $400 million.
Let’s hope Magic and his team reboot the Dodgers franchise. When the team has its first homestand next week, it will be interesting to see what first steps are taken to show fans that a new chapter in Dodger history is begin written.
Will the $15 parking fee be decreased? Will ticket prices be slashed? More importantly, will the ambiance be formatted towards family-friendly? Many people have complained about the ear-busting music that is frequently blasted out over the speakers throughout the game. Is that family-friendly? Many people have complained about the thugs who populate even the high-priced seats droppingf-bombswith babies next to them. Will Magic and his partners tackle that problem?
There are many reasons why people stopped going to Dodger games. Here’s hoping the new owners are aware of the problems because Frank McCourt was just one of them.
BRIAN CROSBY is a teacher in the Glendale Unified School District and the author of “Smart Kids, Bad Schools and The $100,000 Teacher.” He can be reached at brian-crosby.com.