Monday, January 24, 2011

Blood in the water?

There have been few positive signs for Frank McCourt in recent weeks. In December, of course, he lost the battle over the post-nup, and little has gone right since. He's met with MLB executives to pitch his plans to keep the team. He's been forced to seek an advance from Fox on the team's TV deal. And the list of potential buyers grows, one rich person at a time. Adding to previously-speculated suitors such as Jamie McCourt, Alan Casden, Mark Cuban, and Steve Garvey, we're introduced by Bloomberg to Alec Gores. Some particulars:
Alec Gores, 57, chief executive officer of Gores Technology Group in Los Angeles, declined to comment on the Dodgers, said Terry Fahn, a spokesman at Sitrick & Co. His company’s investments include a 75 percent stake in Westwood One Inc., the radio programmer, and Alliance Entertainment, a DVD distributor.
Fahn's outfit, Sitrick and Co., is one of the elite public relations firms. The Bloomberg article speculates that Alec Gores may go in on a potential Dodgers purchase with his brother, Tom Gores. Alec is said to be worth $1.7 billion, and Tom $2.4 billion. What a delightful sibling rivalry! 

Dodgers spokesman Steve Sugerman stuck to the oft-repeated McCourt Company line, saying the Dodgers are not for sale. Which they may not be, for now. But it's that 'for now' that has so many wealthy folks spending a whole lot of time and money to take a close look at what it would cost to buy the Dodgers.

As for me, I am beginning to question Frank McCourt's position. I'm probably in the minority in that I do think he still has a chance to keep the Dodgers. I'm just having a lot of trouble understanding why he would even want to at this point. He's not at all popular with several different groups at the moment. The fans are angry. Baseball is nervous. And the team's creditors are likely, at the least, wary. Winning games would, for various reasons, alleviate the majority of everyone's concerns, but that doesn't look terribly likely for the next few years. 

And in that time, rumors about Frank's financial condition won't stop rumbling. Potential Dodgers suitors won't stop expressing interest. And the fans and media won't stop looking at club transactions in the context of the divorce and related revelations about McCourt ownership. This won't stop. Not for a long, long time.

And I am having trouble understanding why a person would want to subject himself to this any longer.

For a while now, I've worried that the divorce might result in the club being sold at a depressed value. I'm beginning to think, though, that the widespread perception of Frank's imminent need to sell the club might just end up creating a bidding war. And, if it does, I wonder if Frank might just sell the club after all. Not because he has to, but because wants to. 

I can't read Frank McCourt's mind. I can't say just how much he values keeping the team, both financially and as a matter of pride. I can't tell the extent to which his competitive, damn-the-torpedoes approach to business renders him unwilling to even consider selling the club. I can say, though, that if I were in Frank McCourt's position, I'd think long and hard about the possibility that, when it comes to a fight to keep the team, winning might be worse than losing. 


  1. Funny to see Sitrick repping the competition - the McCourts once employed them:

  2. If he doesn't assemble a winning team, he's that much closer to a forced sale. Otherwise, I'm with you; his litigious nature will preclude him selling. There's a lot of court proceedings to go through yet.

  3. If fans continue to show up, Frankie will hang on.

    As soon as the fans say "enough" - something will be done.

  4. ATRO - No sale is allowed until seperate property ruling is final.

    Bud may be able to force a sale when Batman orders Frank to pay Jamie for her portion of the value of the Dodgers because then Frank will officially be in violation of the MLB CBA Debt Formula.

  5. How about a "crazy" idea to flush out the McCourts faster than any court or baseball commissioner can:

    Meet the San Francisco Giants. To baseball they are the defending World Series Champions. To you L.A., they are your new best friends. None of the McCourts (blood, by marriage, or otherwise) will want to keep a team that they can't make money on... especially if everyone in the city is supporting their biggest competition.

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