NBA legend Earvin “Magic” Johnson is primed to test his talents in another sport. Instead of his athletic abilities, however, Magic Johnson this time is demonstrating his business acumen, as a group headed by the former five-time world champion is set to purchase Major League Baseball’s Los Angeles Dodgers.
The sale is a somewhat surprising, though also relieving, end to the ongoing drama over the future of the Dodgers. Owner Frank McCourt had been in a well documented divorce and bankruptcy crisis which has cast a dark cloud over the franchise for the past year. As a result, before the sale can be officially processed, it must first be approved by the bankruptcy judge overseeing the case. If the historic 2.3 billion dollar sale goes through, it will be the highest amount of money ever paid for a professional sports team, unseating previous record-holder Manchester United.
Johnson’s group, funded largely by Guggenheim Partners, outbid billionaires Stan Kroenke (owner of the St. Louis Rams, Colorado Avalanche, and Denver Nuggets), Steven A. Cohen (who recently bought a share of the New York Mets), and Patrick Shoon-Shiong.
Johnson’s group is now faced with an opportunity to ink one of the most lucrative television contracts in baseball. Commissioner Bud Selig previously had blocked billion dollar cable television deal with Fox Sports because he believed a large portion of the money earned would be used to fund Frank McCourt’s divorce. Johnson’s group has a chance to make a similar deal with Fox Sports, or they can entertain offers from other suitors like Time Warner Cable, who created two regional sports networks for the Los Angeles Lakers. A similar deal could yield the Dodgers a sports network that could bring in money that dwarfs their current deal.
Read more at The New York Times.