Jack Harris covers the Dodgers for the Los Angeles Times. Before that, he covered the Angels, the Kings and almost everything else the L.A. sports scene had to offer. A Phoenix native, he originally interned at The Times before joining the staff in 2019.
Dodgers part-owner Todd Boehly has reached a deal to acquire Chelsea for $4.93 billion, according to the Wall Street Journal, believed to be the highest sale price for a sports team.
The club later confirmed the deal.
Here’s what you need to know about Boehly, and Friday’s news.
Why is Todd Boehly buying Chelsea FC?
Chelsea has been up for sale since March, when its Russian oligarch owner Roman Abramovich was ordered to sell the London-based club by the Premier League.
The decision came after Abramovich, who had been Chelsea’s owner for 19 years, was sanctioned by the British government for his relationship with Russian President Vladimir Putin amid Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Boehly quickly emerged as one of Chelsea’s top suitors. After he had reportedly tried to buy the team in 2019, the Journal said this time he beat other American bidders, including the co-owners of the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers.
Chelsea is one of the most popular soccer teams in Europe, with five Premier League championships and two UEFA Champions League titles.
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What is Boehly’s role with the Dodgers?
Boehly was one of the key members of the ownership group that bought the Dodgers from Frank McCourt for $2 billion in 2012.
A Virginia native who grew up a fan of the Baltimore Orioles and went to college at William & Mary, he was at the time the president of Guggenheim Partners, a Chicago-based financial services firm. Mark Walter, the Dodgers principal owner (who also reportedly joined Boehly’s bid for Chelsea), was the company’s chief executive.
Together, they provided significant financial backing to an ownership group that also included Magic Johnson and several other businessmen.
Walter and Boehly each put up $100 million personally to buy the team, while $1.213 billion came from Guggenheim Partners insurance companies controlled by Walter.
“There is only one Dodgers,” Boehly said after the purchase of the team. “It’s not, ‘Oh well, if you don’t get this one, you can go get that one.’”
Though their ownership hasn’t been free of controversy, the Dodgers have been one of the most successful — and highest-spending — franchises in baseball since the sale a decade ago.
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What other ties does Boehly have to Los Angeles?
In addition to his ownership of the Dodgers, Boehly also holds ownership stakes in the Lakers and Sparks.
Outside of sports, he left Guggenheim Partners in 2015 and co-founded a holding company called Eldridge Industries, of which he is now the chairman and CEO.
He is also chairman of Security Benefit, which has a commercial partnership with the Dodgers, and MRC Entertainment, a Beverly Hills-based media company under Eldridge’s umbrella that owns Billboard, Rolling Stone, Variety, the Hollywood Reporter and Dick Clark Productions, among other properties.
Last October, Boehly became the interim CEO of the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., the organization that hands out the Golden Globe Awards. At the time, the HFPA was dealing with controversy resulting from a Times investigation that revealed ethical lapses and a lack of diversity within the organization.