Magic Johnson group to buy the Dodgers

Photo by Scott Fajack

An investment group that includes basketball legend turned businessman Magic Johnson has been selected to buy the Dodgers in a $2 billion deal, the team announced today. Dodger owner Frank McCourt picked the Magic Johnson group – which is funded primarily by a Chicago investment firm – as part of a bankruptcy court-supervised auction of the team and stadium. The sale must still be approved by the bankruptcy court and the sale must be completed by April 30, when McCourt must pay his $131 million divorce settlement, according to the L.A. Times.

While the owners will also take control of the Dodger lots, McCourt and “certain affiliates of the purchasers” would form a joint venture to buy some Chavez Ravine property. The new team owners will  “work with McCourt on any future development,” said the Times.


  1. Frank McCourt is a lucky mf’er.

  2. YAY!!! Bring on the fireworks!

  3. why do they need to “form a joint venture to buy some Chavez Ravine property”? that is a little scary.

  4. The LA Times story was incredibly vague. But it sure sounds to me like McCourt is going to buy the Barlow property and plans to develop it — and maybe not at all as Barlow has been planning. By the time he is done, you might wish you really had let Barlow proceed with its plan. Or, if you are lucky, maybe he simply will proceed with its plan.

    The Times story does not make it at all clear what involvement McCourt might have in the parking lots, simply saying that at time of sale, Magic Johnson’s group will control the parking lots. It says McCourt and “certain affiliates” will form a joint venture and acquire “some Chavez Ravine property at a price of $150 million” — just about the same price sought for the Barlow property. I certainly don’t know any land over there up for grabs other than the parking lots and the Barlow property! 

    And at the sale price of $2 billion, there is no possibility of staying afloat without major development. There is no way the team alone can support that kind of price, not even in the ballpark. Gee, it is five times what McCourt paid for it, at the time the highest ever paid for a baseball team and said too high. We were making the same statement about so high a price as to make serious development mandatory when the price was spoken of possibly being as high as $1 billion or $1.2 billion — now it is nearly double that! With this kind of money at stake, there is NOTHING the community can do to stop it, will be able to maybe merely tweak it some. The money steamroller is so huge, no hold will be barred to get this through. As they say, everyone has their price, and any price will be met to make it so. Don’t forget, Los Angeles is now determined to be the most corrupt city in the entire county other than Chicago. And corruption is all about money. 

    Magic Johnson has an identity. But since his Lakers days, he is now really a serious developer. He’s not taking control of land in order to look at it. He is planning development. Could this be LA Live II, like the development around Staples Center and the Coliseum?! Adding the Barlow property to the stadium expanse sure could provide for that. I sure hope its a lot less than that. But it certainly will be a lot more than a mere Magic Johnson movie theater. And don’t forget, McCourt’s background  from Boston is doing major development on parking lots. 

  5. chinatown monastery

    Chavez Ravine was, is and always will be Los Angeles’ vail of tears.

  6. @Tom-

    In fact there is plenty of land on the Dodger “Campus”. The Hillsides known as “La Loma” and “Palo Verde” were always the parts of the property community activists were concerned would be proposed for development, not the Parking Lots. We have seen the renderings of Condos along the ridge from years and owners past.
    Barlow, if it were to be entitled after the EIR is released, would be for “sale for developmet” at about $70 million…..This is a big if. At the end of the day, both Barlow and Dodger Stadium are zoned Agricultural. The most restrictive of zonings and requiring
    a tremendous amount of Community involvement and outreach-as well as support.
    Solano Canyons map of the “Ravine” is in the link below:



  7. Love the Dodgers but it’s all business,never take it personal,some of us as fans forget that.

    Life will go on @ Blue Heaven on Earth.

    Regardless of the silly media depicts a visit to Dodger Stadium.

  8. Well, like I said, the Times story was incredibly vague. It does not tell what land McCourt might want to buy. But I certainly see no reason why he would sell all the Dodger land and and then buy it right back — why not just keep what you want! So, I look at the adjacent Barlow property, which is for sale. As for that $70,000, I thought that was the minimum Barlow needed so it could build a new hospital, not the price it was actually hoping to get, which I have read in the past as well over $120 million.

    Besides, chances are it all will be developed, the parking lots, the hills, the Barlow property. And maybe in concert.

    As for the zoning, yes, that is official stuff. But in effect, it is little more than pretend, feel-good stuff. Zoning and plans can be changed easily, and often are to accommodate various projects. The agricultural zoning that was put in was just to make you feel good — no one expects a farm there. Yes, there are requirements for some studies and hearings and EIR and the like, but that will be done — and it will turn out as the developers want, and the change will go through. Nobody is planning to start building next month, so the developers won’t even see it as much of a delay, and they know it from the get-go.

    Don’t misunderstand, I don’t advocate this, I just recognize it. I’m sorry, but the reality is that that “if” is not at all big.

  9. Obviously Tom doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

  10. Just doing some quick math (and yes i know there’s more to it than that, but i think this is kind of interesting) let’s say you buy the dodgers for $2 billion and you expect to break even after twenty years, you would have to make a PROFIT of over $27 per ticket assuming a very generous attendance of 45000 per game. That’s pure profit, no salaries or maintenance costs included. Obviously it’s more complicated than that, but it just illustrates what a basically dumb deal this is.

    These people are not good businessmen. They’ll soon come crying they can’t make any money unless they extract concessions from the st of us. Then we gotta pay their taxes and lose our parks.

    • Remember the longterm TV deal with FoxSports that was on the table, plus concessions, plus merchandise . . .

    • Seriously? Ticket Sales? LMFAO

      Dude… There are lots of revenue streams for a prof sports team.

      • not enough caveats?

        … the point being that it’s a ridiculous price to pay, and these guys probably want to more than break even for their investment. The per ticket profit was just one way of looking at how absurd this amount of money is.

        No matter what, these clowns are going to have to extract a boat load of cash out of the community somehow: cable bills, tax breaks, rezoning … we’re gonna pay whether we like baseball or not.

  11. As you all know, the land that Dodger Stadium rests on was once a town of Mexican-American and Italian immigrant families who were forcefully displaced by the city to make way for a failed attempt at renewed urban housing. In subsequent years their homes were sold off or demolished and eventually the city transferred the land to the O’Malley family to build Dodger Stadium in 1959. Mr. O’Malley led a strong and vibrant franchise leading to two National League titles and two World Series. He was also a civic-minded individual and was well-respected by community members for reaching out and cooperating with our requests and concerns.

    Since the acquisition of the team by Frank McCourt however, we have seen a disturbing lack of respect for the community at large from the ball club. From directing traffic into our residential streets, to endangering the lives of residents by courting the patronage of the most violent of his fan base. McCourt has repeatedly proven that he is a poor steward of his resources and unable or unwilling to extend his judgment to questions of the public good when it concerns issues of his own enrichment. He must go!

    As for the land– it was a single parcel at the time that McCourt acquired the club. In fact, the 1960 conditional use permit states that the land is to be used as a “Stadium”. Frank sub-divided the land into parcels, then transferred title to different entities. The parking parcels (owned by LA REAL ESTATE LLC) where then leased to LA TEAM CO.LLC, (both Delaware LLCs) for 34 years. The lease also states that the “out parcels” (parcels not currently used for permitted baseball use) may be deleted from said lease. The land is clearly identified as the land in Solano Canyon (La Loma and Palo Verde). Why? You must ask.

    I strongly believe that this land(s) must remain a part of a single property in perpetuity in order to preserve the identity and legacy of the club and surrounding community. Should the land be divided they are clearly in violation of the original conditional use permit. And as Cp007 states- it is zoned agricultural!! But, we all know that money talks! As a resident of Solano Canyon- I am very concerned.

    For this reason, as a gesture and testament of Mr. Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Major League Baseball’s community-mindedness, any sale of the Dodger Baseball Club to new ownership must require them to include all the lands surrounding the stadium including those lands immediately adjacent to the HISTORIC communities that host the Dodger Organization.

    If Frank remains part of this group, people are already talking boycott. Guess where they will park?

  12. Hear, hear!

    Well put, Loma Loca. Something must be done. What avenues for action do we have?

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