Olympic de Marseille made some big news Monday regarding former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt.
Not so much that McCourt is in exclusive discussions to purchase the French Ligue 1 soccer club — billionaires have to do something with their money, don’t they?
The big news, at least to folks around here, is that McCourt led the Dodgers to “tremendous economic success.”
Here’s a line from Marlseille’s press release announcing its exclusive negotiations with McCourt:
“Mr. McCourt’s leadership helped guide the team to competitive success which returned the team to its rightful place among baseball’s elite organizations, along with tremendous economic success following years of financial challenges under its previous ownership.”
Hmm. So somewhere in the midst of driving the Dodgers into bankruptcy, needing loans in order to pay the players and being forced by Major League Baseball to sell the team, McCourt guided the team to economic success?
The statement goes on to detail the team’s success on the diamond during McCourt’s tenure as owner. The only mention of finances of any kind is this: “In 2012, Mr. McCourt sold the Dodgers for $2.15 billion, the highest price paid for any sports team in history.“
Of course, this is true. But that money, minus all the debts he owed, landed in McCourt’s pocket.
But he probably used the details of that financial windfall to sell himself to soccer club owner Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. Here’s a quote from McCourt after he purchased the Global Champions Tour, a series of horse-jumping competitions held mostly in Europe, two years ago:
“You know what happened with the Dodgers. We took a franchise losing almost $60 million per year and ended up selling it for the highest price ever paid for a sports franchise. We created value there and we plan to do the same thing here.”
Sounds great, if you skip a lot of sticky details in between.
Anyhow, Olympique de Marseille hopes to have the transaction with McCourt completed by the end of the year. Hopefully there will be tremendous economic success — this time for all involved.