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The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California.
Just a quick update on the sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The bids were submitted last week and already a few potential buyers have dropped out. Most prominent among these is Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who tried to buy both the Chicago Cubs and the Texas Rangers when they available were (he failed in both cases).
Magic Johnson, the Lakers superstar and successful regional businessman, is still in the running, however. As are two of the big money guys who've been discussed as prospective owners: East Coast hedge-fund king Steven Cohen; and LA-based private-equity duke Tom Barrack.
Additionally, St. Louis Ram's owners Stan Kroenke — a player whom I hadn't written about — made the cut, which was managed by Dodgers owners Frank McCourt in concert with the investment back that's advising him on the sale, Blackstone Advisory Partners. Given that the Rams could be the new LA NFL franchise, depending on how things go with the AEG Downtown stadium project (the project is still in search of a team, and it seems to be down to the Rams and Raiders), I'm not sure how Kroenke could own two sports teams in town. But that's for the NFL and Major League Baseball to sort out.
Not surprisingly, the sentimental bids — such as the one from former Dodger greats Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser — fell away, perhaps because the going price for the club now looks to be $1.5 billion, a jump of $500 million since the specifics of the sale first came under discussion last year.
The Rick Caruso-Joe Torre partnership also survives. But for how long? I'm beginning to think that this will come down a three-way contest between Cohen with his deep, deep pockets, Barrack with his considerable funding and local mojo, and Caruso-Torre, who may not have as much money, but who may please Major League Baseball and have the long-term fan support.