Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Updated: November 4, 2:48 PM ET
Handicapping potential Dodgers owners
By Ramona Shelburne
For two years Frank McCourt has fought a bitter legal fight on three fronts to retain control of the Los Angeles Dodgers. He battled with his ex-wife, Jamie McCourt, baseball commissioner Bud Selig and his television partner, Fox. Now, all of a sudden, he has laid down his arms and reached an agreement to sell the team through an auction in bankruptcy court.
What comes next? Who comes next? The pool of potential candidates might surprise you.
The Dallas Mavericks' owner has been chasing a baseball team for years, but baseball's owners aren't ready to invite him to their club, turning down his bids for the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. Could the third time be the charm? Fans certainly hope so.
The former sports agent and current Chicago White Sox executive is the insiders' pick to buy the team because of his high standing in baseball circles and close ties to Selig through White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf. The L.A. native came up short in a bid to by the Rangers in 2010. He owns box seats behind home plate at Dodger Stadium.
The supermarket magnate has a net worth north of $3.2 billion, but would likely only be a silent backer in an ownership group, like his arrangement with Pens legend Mario Lemieux as part owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser
The Dodgers legends have been very public in their desire to be the frontmen for an ownership group, a la Nolan Ryan's role with the Texas Rangers. They have hinted several other Dodger greats could be part of their group too. The big question? Who is coming up with the money. Garvey has said publicly that he's met with Burkle, but Hershiser told ESPNLosAngeles.com back in June that "I've gotten a lot of interaction with a lot of people, and a lot more influential people than I thought."
Hard to find another name with as much credibility with Dodgers fans as O'Malley, who told the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday that he is interested in joining an ownership group and running the team again.
The former Dodgers general manager announced Wednesday he was aligned with former Oakland Athletics president Andy Dolich and Ben Hwang, a former Dodgers batboy who went on to become a biotechnology executive. The group is also believed to include Asian investors.
The 77-year-old Los Angeles-based real estate developer and philanthropist offered to buy the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004 if Frank McCourt's deal fell through. Broad entered the bidding at the 11th hour at the urging from former mayor James Hahn and former Dodgers owner Peter O'Malley, who would have served as the chairman of Broad's group.
Tom and Alec Gores
With a combined net worth of almost $4 billion, the buyout king brothers certainly have the money to become major players in this process. Tom recently bought part of the Detroit Pistons, along with Palace Sports and Entertainment. Could it be Alec's turn to buy a team?
The Los Angeles Lakers great seems more interested in being part of the AEG-backed group to bring the NFL back to Los Angeles than becoming a baseball owner. But he certainly has the reputation, fortune and clout to join an ownership group.
Milwaukee Brewers owner and Los Angeles native Mark Attanasio is often mentioned as a potential buyer for the Dodgers, but he denied interest on the record back in April. "My wife and my family just moved into a new place in downtown Milwaukee," he told MLB.com. "We're excited to be part of the city and building what we hope is a championship team here." Either way he'll probably be paying Prince Fielder a lot of money next year.
Don't laugh. Don't cry either. As ironic as it would be, it makes too much financial and strategic sense for the network to consider reacquiring the Dodgers again, if only to protect themselves from losing the team's television rights to new rival Time Warner, as it did with the Lakers. While it might make strategic sense, News Corp. President and COO Chase Carey said on a conference call Wednesday the company does not plan to bid on the team again.
The former L.A. Marathon founder and businessman reportedly made McCourt an all-cash $1.2 billion offer in August. According to the L.A. Times, the bid was backed primarily by Chinese investors and was set to expire within 21 days. That deadline obviously came and went. The bid was later questioned by baseball insiders as a ploy by McCourt to stir up interest in the team.
People of Los Angeles
Yes, you read that right. YOU can own a piece of the Dodgers -- maybe. On Thursday congresswoman Janice Hahn (D-Wilmington) introduced a bill that would allow public ownership of sports franchises. While it probably won't pass in time to get in on the auction for the Dodgers, a city can dream ...
Other candidates: Time Warner Cable, David Geffen, Donald Trump, Tom Werner, Allen Casden
Ramona Shelburne is a columnist and writer for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow her on Twitter.