I understand that enthusiasm about Magic Johnson’s ownership group buying the Dodgers. Frank McCourt is leaving. Magic is awesome. L.A. loves him. The Dodgers are in the pits. He shall save them. Woo-ha!
But I think it’s possible to blow this up a bit too much.
For one thing, Magic is not the controlling owner. That’s a man named Mark R. Walter and a company called Guggenheim Baseball Management. Magic is pretty rich himself and likely has a lot of his own money in the game, but let’s remember how quickly the nominal head of the Texas Rangers ownership group — Chuck Greenberg — was cast off after that team was sold. No, I’m not saying the same thing will happen to Magic, but let’s not pretend that he is totally in control here. There are a lot of chefs, and if they don’t want to do what Magic Johnson wants to do, they’re gonna win.
For another thing, this is a huge amount of money being invested in the Dodgers. So much so that, no matter how optimistic the projections are regarding a TV deal and future revenues are, there are likely to be some financial restraints in play, aren’t there? I mean, you can’t spend $2 billion on a team and then expect to have no limit on payroll, can you? The current Yankees ownership group invested something like $10 million originally, they have higher revenues and even they have a budget.
I don’t want to be a Debbie Downer here. It’s great that Magic Johnson is buying the Dodgers. He’s the perfect man to invigorate the fan base. And of course, it’s great that Frank McCourt is leaving.
But this is still a business. Thanks to McCourt, it’s still a franchise that has to do a lot to bring the people back to the stadium and fix the product on the field. So hold off on the champagne and wait and watch what the new owners do before popping the corks.