Time for my weekly writeup of Friday's business and economy report on "American Now with Andy Dean." Obviously, we couldn't not talk about the Mega Millions lottery, even though we've discussed it before. Evidently, the lotto authorities are still tracking down the winners for the Friday night drawing. The fact remains, of course: These are people who spent $1 — well, OK, maybe they spent hundred or even thousands of dollars on tickets, I have no way of knowing — for a shot at $640 million. Negligible input for a monumental payoff. And a reminder that while the odds are waaayyy against you, as Andy points out, it can be worth it to play the lottery when it gets super-high, jackpot-wise. You're investing in a personal "black swan" event.
Otherwise, we discussed the Dodgers sale, including the masterful — and to some, malevolent — parking-lots side deal that soon-to-be-former owners Frank McCourt worked out. Also some back-and-forth about Goldman Sachs ultra-critic Greg Smith's $1.5 billion book advance, some more discussion of why Apple should buy Research in Motion as RIM's stock price continues to struggle, and to cap it all off, the breaking news that Keith Olberman was fired at Al-Gore owned Current TV.
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Dodger Stadium during a night game.
Mark Walter, the CEO of Guggenheim Partners and "controlling partner" of the Guggenheim Baseball Management team that includes Magic Johnson and is buying the Dodgers for $2 billion, has finally commented on the burning issue of the sale: What's going on with Frank McCourt and the parking lots?
Thanks to Mark Lacter at LA Biz Observed for digging this up:
ESPN is reporting that the Dodger sale includes a 50 percent stake in the parking lots, which are said to have a value of $300 million. Current owner Frank McCourt will keep the other half.[Controlling owner Mark] Walter said he understood the concerns, but insisted that McCourt will only have an "economic interest" in the land and not any control or influence over it. "Frank's not involved in the team, baseball, any of that," Walter said. "What Frank does have is an economic interest in land, but we control the parking and all the fan experience and that's of the utmost importance to us."
Lynn Zinser really lets it rip at the New York Times' Bats blog:
O.K., let’s see if we’ve got this straight. As Los Angeles Dodgers owner, Frank McCourt turned a storied franchise into a ridiculous melodrama centered on his dissolving marriage, alienated its loyal fans, let the iconic stadium languish, arguably turned a blind eye to the darkness gathering in Chavez Ravine’s parking lots, oversaw the whole Mannywood fiasco, ran up debt like a spoiled teenager with a parent’s platinum card, angered nearly everyone in Major League Baseball by being arrogant about it and then just escaped bankruptcy by selling the team for more than $2 billion.
Did ya catch that Harry Caray reference at the end? Clever New York Times...
Watch the video above for more Harry Caray fun, this time from Saturday Night Live.
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The bleachers stand empty at Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles, California. You can see Frank McCourt's precious parking lots in the background.
Forget that Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber, and Guggenheim Partners — as "Guggenheim Baseball Management" — are buying the L.A. Dodgers for $2 billion. Everyone really wants to know what's going on with Frank McCourt and the massive parking lots!
At L.A. Weekly, David Futch summarizes:
Though many wanted him gone for good, under the sales terms, McCourt will be co-owner of the surrounding lands. In essence, he purchased the Dodger acreage from himself along with his new partner, a still-unnamed affiliate of Guggenheim.
McCourt has dreamed of a major development that could substantially alter the deliberately scruffy, artsy Echo Park vibe. Locals fear that the tin-ear McCourt will champion something along the lines of The Grove in the Fairfax District, an upscale mall that’s anethema to Eastsiders — many of whom make a sport of dumping on cookie-cutter chain stores and Muzak drifting from outdoor speakers shaped like boulders.
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New Dodgers owner? Earvin "Magic" Johnson arrives at the Annual Harold Pump Foundation Gala Honoring Magic Johnson And Bill Russell at the Beverly Hilton Hotel, on August 13, 2009 in Beverly Hills, California.
As everyone who cares (i.e, the entire city of Los Angeles) now knows, Magic Johnson, Stan Kasten, Peter Guber and financing cohort Guggenheim Partners are buying the L.A. Dodgers for a whopping $2 billion, the highest price ever paid for a pro sports franchise (it blows away the $1.1 billion that the Miami Dolphins went for in 2009).
Somehow, between last week and last night, Magic Johnson and his partners went from reportedly scrambling to raise more cash on their $1.6-billion bid to bringing another $400 million to the table ($550 million, if you count the parking lot deal being done on the side with Dodgers owner Frank McCourt).
The bankruptcy court still needs to review this bid, but what about Major League Baseball? The owners who voted to allow the three bidding groups — Steven Cohen and Stan Kroenke were the other two — to advance to a final auction, conducted by McCourt, have now learned that McCourt and Guggenheim CEO Mark Walter apparently cut a deal with no auction, for substantially more than anticipated.