Frank McCourt is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. His purchase was one of the most highly leveraged team purchases to date.
Frank McCourt is the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. After losing out on the bidding for the Boston Red Sox, Boston area real estate developer purchased the Dodgers from Rupert Murdoch and FOX in 2003 off-season. His purchase was one of the most highly leveraged team purchases to date. He made a splash by hiring young general manager Paul DePodesta.
Failed Red Sox bid
Before buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, Frank McCourt made a bid to buy his hometown Boston Red Sox. If he won the bid, he would have built a new stadium on the land he owned and used for parking lots on the South Boston waterfront. Instead, the Red Sox were sold in 2002 to John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Red Sox President Larry Lucchino.
McCourt had also tried to buy the Anaheim Angels and Tampa Bay Buccaneers before he bought the Dodgers.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Purchase of the L.A. Dodgers
After his failed bid to buy the Red Sox he set his sights on the Dodgers. In 2004, McCourt bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for $430 million from NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's flagship enterprise. McCourt's purchase of the Dodgers was financed mostly by debt.
In 2004 McCourt's South Boston parking lot property was used as collateral for some of the financing to acquire the Dodgers from News Corp. Later the South Boston property was turned over to News Corp. in exchange for canceling acquisition debt. News Corp. received approximately $200 million when they re-sold the property to Morgan Stanley and Boston real estate investor John B. Hynes III in 2006.
The Dodgers assets acquired by McCourt included significant real estate assets related to the stadium in Chavez Ravine, including stadium parking lot land. Plans have been announced for new real estate developments at Dodger Stadium.
To offset the purchase, McCourt has raised ticket and concession prices every year. By April 2009 the team and its related assets, in which McCourt had invested heavily in improvements, had increased in value to $722 million according to Forbes. In 2010 the value of the team was estimated at $727 million according to Forbes.
Unlike other owners, McCourt bought and still operates the Dodgers without any financial partners.
The hiring and firing of Paul DePodesta
In 2003 (under News Corp ownership) the Dodger's record was 85 Wins, 77 Losses. Shortly after purchasing the team, McCourt fired then General Manager, Dan Evans, replacing him with Paul DePodesta. DePodesta is featured (along with Billy Beane) in the book Moneyball as it discusses their non-traditional approach to using statistics to manage the Oakland A's. In Los Angeles DePodesta made a blockbuster trade in the middle of the 2004 season: the Dodgers sent fan favorites Paul LoDuca, Guillermo Mota, and Juan Encarnacion to the Florida Marlins for the high on-base percentage first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and power pitcher Brad Penny and pitching prospect Bill Murphy, who was in turn flipped with Koyie Hill and Reggie Abercrombie to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gold Glove center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brett Mayne.
In 2004, the Dodgers won the NL West (93 W, 69 L), but lost in four games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Series of the playoffs. In the offseason the Dodgers decided not to re-sign Adrián Beltré due to his high contract demands (Beltre finished second in the NL MVP voting and would later sign with Seattle for 5 year/$64 million). DePodesta signed outfielder J.D. Drew for 5 years at $55 million, sinkerball pitcher Derek Lowe for 4 years ($36 million) and All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent.
However, the 2005 season (71 W, 91 L) was the Dodgers second-worst record since moving to Los Angeles, due in part to players' injuries. That off-season, manager, Jim Tracy, was fired. Soon after Tracy was fired, McCourt fired DePodesta and about a month later, hired Ned Colletti to replace him.
The Ned Colletti / Joe Torre era
Ned Colletti's first action as GM was the signing of the former Red Sox manager, Grady Little. Colletti then signed several veteran players such as Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton and Bill Mueller. These players were among those who led the 2006 Dodgers to the NL Wild Card title, with an 88-74 record. The Dodgers would get swept by the New York Mets in the National League Division Series. In the winter of 2006-07 the team signed Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, and Luis Gonzalez.
In October 2007, Grady Little resigned and Joe Torre was hired as their new manager. In 2008 with new manager Joe Torre, Ned Colletti signed Andruw Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, and Chan Ho Park. During the trade deadline the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
In 2007 Dr. Charles Steinberg was hired as Executive Vice President, Marketing and Public Relations of the Dodgers after working with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. In 2009 he was reported to be on his way out and was said to be allied with Jamie McCourt and had lost influence as she did according to a report in the LA Times.
Dodger Stadium renovations
Since buying the team, McCourt has invested heavily in Dodger Stadium. In 2004, he added luxury boxes. After the 2005 season, McCourt announced a multi-year plan to restore the aging Dodger Stadium. The first stage of restoration consisted of filling cement cracks and replacing all the seats in each level, resulting in a return of the ballpark to its original 1962 appearance (only with many more billboards and newer scoreboards) as well as a picnic area outside the loge level entrance. In 2008, he announced a $500 million project to add a museum, shops, and restaurants around Dodger Stadium.
Controversial parking plan
Prior to the 2007 season, McCourt announced the Dodgers would be raising the price of parking from $10 to $15. McCourt justified the 50% cost increase by promising to implement a new parking plan that would ease entering and exiting the stadium. Instead, the new plan was quickly deemed a fiasco, with many local journalists calling it "nightmarish" and "a complete disaster." Following opening day, several fans described the situation as one of severe gridlock, complaining that it took nearly two hours both to enter and exit the stadium. McCourt was further criticized for failing to address the situation. McCourt initially declined to comment and later insisted the new plan was a success. Camille Johnston, the Dodgers' senior vice president of communications, subsequently blamed the parking mess on fans who "like to drive in one gate, out the other gate, park in their favorite spot, all those things."
On October 14, 2009 it was announced the McCourts would be separating after nearly 30 years of marriage. While speculation was raised on the impact upon the McCourt family Dodger ownership, a spokesperson for Jamie McCourt said the following day that "the focus of the Dodgers is on the playoffs and the World Series". Jamie was fired from her position as Dodgers CEO on Thursday, October 22, 2009, the day after the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs, thus ending the reign of the self proclaimed "First Female CEO of a Baseball Team." She officially filed for divorce shortly thereafter. McCourt then accused her of having an affair with her bodyguard and changed the locks on her office. The pending divorce will settle the issue of Dodgers ownership. He has claimed that the divorce has "no bearing on the team whatsoever". "
On December 7, 2010 the judge in the divorce case of the McCourts invalidated the post-nuptial marital property agreement ("MPA") that Frank McCourt had claimed provided him with sole ownership of the Dodgers. In the wake of this decision Frank McCourt's lawyers said that Frank would use other legal avenues to establish his sole ownership of the Dodgers, while Jamie McCourt's lawyers said that Jamie would be confirmed as the co-owner of the team as community property of their marriage
Frank McCourt's grandfather was part owner of the Boston Braves along with Lou Perini and others.By WIKI
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