Deals don’t come much bigger than this and basketball legend Magic Johnson is set to become the new owners of the iconic LA Dodgers baseball franchise, bringing the end to a 12-month search for a new owner for the troubled team.
Johnson is reputed to be paying some $2.3 billion for the Dodgers franchise, which will beat by some way the $1.4 billion, the Glazer family paid for Manchester United when they took over a few years ago, and the Johnson “deal” will be the highest price paid for a professional sports club in the world. Mind you they need the money as the previous owner – Frank McCourt – left the team bankrupt last year after a spending spree that ran into millions. McCourt is also going to need all of that cash to pay for his bitter divorce battle with his ex-wife Jamie who was once the chief executive of the Dodgers.
Johnson will of course be switching sports from basketball to baseball and he’s hopeful that his experience gained in that sphere can guide the Dodgers back to the top of the tree, he was a driving force behind the LA Lakers five NBA Championships and all the supporters of the franchise will be hoping that he can guide the Dodgers back to the top of the tree. The deal ends a long period of uncertainty for the Dodgers that led to a sharp drop off in attendances by disappointed fans. The Dodgers last won the World Series in 1988 and although McCourt who purchased the team originally did a good job, the past three years have seen the side on the slippery slope downwards.
Those woes were exacerbated by clashes with the league and especially MLB commissioner Bud Selig who challenged the deal that McCourt had negotiated with Fox Sports for media rights last year which went a long way to saving the club until the new consortium headed by Magic Johnson took over.
It now remains to be seen if Johnson can bring back the magic to the Dodgers franchise as they start life under new owners with renewed hope and optimism, the first aim will be to improve on the 82-79 record from last season and to start to put pressure on National League West rivals the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants. The ultimate aim will be to win the World Series, last done by the Dodgers in 1988 and add to their six World Series titles – a tough ask but something that would thrill fans watching baseball live online.