Frank McCourt – Dodger Owner Frank McCourt reached an agreement with Major League Baseball on Tuesday night to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers, along with Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate. The decision brings to end not only a six-month legal battle with baseball commissioner Bud Selig but also a 7 1/2-year ownership that was simply never embraced by the team’s fan base.
A joint statement said there will be a “court-supervised process” to sell the team and its media rights to maximize value for the Dodgers and McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale.
The announcement comes as the Dodgers and MLB were headed toward a showdown in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Delaware at the end of the month as mediation between both sides was ongoing. Frank apparently realized a sale of the team he vowed never to give up was in his best interest and that of the fans.
“There comes a point in time when you say, ‘It’s time,'” a person familiar with the situation who requested anonymity because details of the negotiations had not been made public told The Associated Press. “He came to that realization at the end of today.”
Frank purchased the Dodgers from NewsCorp in February 2004 for the price of $420 million, largely on borrowed funds. Based on various media reports, the team is expected to fetch somewhere between $800 million and $1.2 billion this time.
The decision comes at the end of a long legal battle to hold onto the team, this even as home attendance plummeted by 21 percent this season. There was strong evidence to suggest many fans stayed away as a protest against his continued ownership of the club. But it became fairly clear last week, when Kevin Gross, the federal bankruptcy judge overseeing the team’s case, agreed to delay the next hearing until Nov. 29, that the sides were nearing a settlement, one that could only end with Frank finally agreeing to put the team up for sale.