SPORTS

Magic Johnson-led ownership group buys LA Dodgers for $2 billion

TAGs: Frank Mccourt, los angeles dodgers, Magic Johnson, MLB, sports

Dodger-now-get-Magic-touchFans of the Los Angeles Dodgers can now pop open the champagne bottles, scream at the top of their lungs, and just plain jump in jubilation.

No, they didn’t win the World Series, but they might as well celebrate like they did because embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has officially announced that he has agreed to sell the Dodgers – or the bankrupt Dodgers, if you want to be technical about it – for a whopping $2 billion, a record for a North American sports franchise.

And here’s even better news for the long-suffering Dodgers fans: the group McCourt decided to give the keys to the ball club to includes a man many Los Angelinos idolize and revere: Earvin “Magic” Johnson.

The agreement to sell the Dodgers comes after a tumultuous few years that saw McCourt’s popularity in Los Angeles plunge to decrepit depths due his continued hoodwinking and bamboozling of the very fans that routinely purchased his product. The list of atrocities McCourt incurred during his time as Dodgers owner runs like a grocery list during the Apocalypse, including, but certainly not limited to siphoning millions and millions of dollars from the team to pay for his lavish and megalomaniac lifestyle that includes buying a pair of houses in Malibu worth a combined $46 million – even if he already had a $25 million house to call his own. McCourt also paid his two kids $600,000 a year to do absolutely nothing, and – the most egregious of them all – he was also behind the hiring of a so-called Russian “healer” named Vladimir Shpunt to send “good vibes” to the team.

After years of pent up – justifiably so – frustration, Dodgers fans last year finally threw their hands up, put their feet down and staged what could arguably be the most impressive fan boycott in recent memory.
All that now has been washed, soaped, and dried now that Magic Johnson, a man as beloved in LA as McCourt is despised, has become the face of the new ownership group, despite not being the chief financier behind the deal.

In a statement released shortly after the announcement, Magic said: “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”

In addition to Johnson, the new ownership group, called Guggenheim Baseball Management, includes former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten, Mandalay Entertainment chief executive Peter Guber, and Mark Walter, chief executive officer of the financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, who would eventually step in as the controlling owner of the team.

The sale, while already approved by Major League Baseball owners, is still subject to approval in federal bankruptcy court. But all that appears to be a formality after the Johnson-led group beat out other bidders for the franchise, including Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams in the NFL, the Denver Nuggets in the NBA, the  Colorado Avalanche in the NHL, and the Colorado Rapids in MLS, as well as Steve Cohen, founder of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors and a minority partner of the New York Mets.

Now that Frank McCourt is out of the picture, the LA Dodgers are now opening a new chapter in the franchise’s storied history. The incandescent, mega-killowatt smile of Magic Johnson is the first step to winning back fans of the Dodgers, and quite honestly, there couldn’t have been a better person to bring back legitimacy to a franchise the previous owner shit on than the very icon Los Angelinos still idolize to this day.

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