Explaining Southern California's economy

Forbes: Dodgers' value increased 24 percent

Atlanta Braves v Los Angeles Dodgers - Game Four

Harry How/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 07: Juan Uribe #5 of the Los Angeles Dodgers celebrates with Hanley Ramirez #13 after Uribe hits a two-run home run in the eighth inning against the Atlanta Braves in Game Four of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 7, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

The Los Angeles Dodgers are now valued at $2 billion, 24-percent more than what they were worth last year, according to Forbes' latest valuation of Major League Baseball teams.

Interestingly, $2 billion is roughly what the team was purchased for two years ago, at a price that many lambasted as wildly inflated. 

"It's the craziest deal ever; it makes no sense. That's why you saw so many groups drop out," Mark Rosentraub, a University of Michigan sports management professor told ESPN after the sale. "I don't get it. The numbers just don't work. It doesn't make business sense."

Forbes says much of the increase in valuation can be attributed to the Dodgers' $8.35 billion, 25-year deal with Time Warner Cable. While it has proven to be a windfall for the team, helping them to assemble baseball's most expensive roster, the Time Warner deal is less popular with fans, because about 70 percent of Los Angeles residents can't see Dodgers games on TV due to the fact that Time Warner hasn't been able to strike deals with any major TV providers. 

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In SoCal business news: Facebook buys Irvine's Oculus, Aerojet Rocketdyne layoffs, USC's burrito vending machine

/Noah Nelson

Actor Tamara Bruketta experiences the Oculus VR at the E3 gaming conference in Los Angeles.

Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, we compile a list of interesting business news in the region.

  • Could Facebook change social media through the purchase of Oculus? (Orange County Register). Oculus specializes in virtual reality goggles. Register reporter Ian Hamilton says this could lead to a new type of social media, "for person-to-person interaction" even if you're not in the same place. Meanwhile, Variety suggests the deal could threaten theaters in the future. NPR's Laura Sydell tested out the goggles earlier this month. 
  • Dish's chairman apparently approached DirecTV's CEO about a merger (Bloomberg). This comes after Comcast announced it will buy Time Warner Cable. We'll be monitoring this situation.
  • More job cuts are coming to Southern California. Aerojet Rocketdyne will lay off 162 employees, Amgen plans to cut 252 workers and Bank of America will reduce its California staff by 636 workers (Los Angeles Daily News).
  • City of Santa Monica makes a move to reduce its airport operations. The Santa Monica City Council approved taking over a portion of the Santa Monica Airport, which would prevent large planes from landing there (CBS Local). KPCC's business reporter Brian Watt examined some of the issues surrounding the airport.
  • People say the newspaper business is dying, but the Pew Research Center's State of the News Media report says newspapers still represent the bulk of news revenue. Poynter's Rick Edmonds says newspapers made $38.6 billion out of the total $63.6 billion in news revenue.  As I reported earlier, Freedom Communications will launch the LA Register on April 16.
  • Will Lachlan Murdoch follow in his dad Rupert Murdoch's footsteps? That's what New York Times reporter David Jolly thinks. Lachlan was named as non-executive co-chairman of 21st Century Fox and the News Corporation, putting him in position to one day take over the company.
  • San Bernardino officials spent $200 million on its regional airport and no airlines have come yet (KPCC). KPCC business reporter Brian Watt and photographer Maya Sugarman toured the airport. See photos of their tour on Audiovision.
  • College students and free food = good combination? Yesterday Burritobox, a burrito vending machine, launched at USC. The Daily Trojan reporter Eloy Yndigoyen reports the machine gave free burritos in the first 24 hours of operation. 

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San Bernardino Airport hopes for international travelers

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The two-terminal San Bernardino International Airport is almost complete, after a $200 million effort to convert the former Norton Air Force Base into a regional airport for commercial airliners. But so far, no airliners have shown up to use it.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

The domestic terminal at San Bernardino International Airport, including its jetways, is ready for 24 commercial flights a day.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A sign thanks departing passengers for visiting the Inland Empire. San Bernardino’s airport is 22 miles from Ontario’s.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Executive Director of the San Bernardino International Airport AJ Wilson said the airport has had serious conversations with about nine airlines.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Signs for self service check-in kiosks have been posted inside one of two terminals at San Bernardino International Airport.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kiosks for printing boarding passes sit in the front entrance to the San Bernardino International Airport. The domestic terminal has been finished for three years.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Kiosks with printers for boarding passes and card scanners sit ready to use. The Norton Air Force Base officially closed on the site 10 years ago.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Computers and monitors have been installed in the front entrance of the Airport, ready to take in luggage and book flights.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Signs lead passengers to the gates. The main source of income right now at the airport is selling fuel to pilots that stop at the former base.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A sign greets arriving passengers on the way to baggage claim and the airport exit.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

A space for customs inspections is inside the international terminal at San Bernardino International Airport.

San Bernardino International Airport

Maya Sugarman/KPCC

Customs officials can look through one-way mirror windows as passengers arrive from an international flight.


It’s not every day that you get to walk into a brand new, empty airport terminal, but I got a recent tour of the San Bernardino International Airport.

Last month, San Bernardino officials showed off the airport's new international arrivals terminal. It represents the last phase of a $200 million effort to convert the former Norton Air Force Base into a regional airport that commercial airlines can use. The problem so far: commercial airlines haven't shown up to use it.

MORE PHOTOS: What it's like inside a completely empty international airport

A.J. Wilson, the airport's Executive Director showed me the new international arrivals terminal. It only has one jetway, but it's a three-story building with plenty of customs booths and office space for agricultural inspections and passenger interviews.

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Bill to expand Calif.'s film tax credit passes committee

New Study Finds Hollywood Film Industry To Be Major Polluter

David McNew/Getty Images

LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: A crew sets up cameras for the filming a mobile phone commercial on-location on November 18, 2006 in Los Angeles, California.

A bill to expand the state's film and TV tax credit program cleared another step in the state legislature on Tuesday.

The bill, introduced by state legislators Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) and Raul Bocanegra (D-Pacoima), passed the Assembly Arts, Entertainment, Sports, Tourism and Internet Media Committee. Before coming to a house vote, the bill will need the approval of two more Assembly committees: Revenue and Taxation; and Appropriations. The bill would later go through a similar process in the senate.

“We can’t sit by and watch a $17 billion dollar a year sector of our economy leave California,” Bocanegra said in a press release. “This expanded and improved program will go a long way towards making California more competitive with other state’s programs."

Currently, California offers $100 million in film tax credits each year, when competing states like New York offer roughly four times that amount. The bill would allow big budget feature films to apply for the financial incentives and let TV pilots and new one-hour TV series--regardless of where or how they're distributed, apply for the credits.

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SoCal business news: California's high rents, Walgreens will close stores, American Apparel sells stock

Scott Olson/Getty Images

California in the second least affordable state for renters

Good morning! Welcome to KPCC's business blog, The Breakdown. Every weekday, we compile a list of interesting business stories in the region.

  • Sorry renters. California is one of the most expensive states to pay rent in the nation, second to Hawaii, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition (Los Angeles Times). L.A. Times reporter Andrew Khouri says people who rent in California "must earn more than triple the minimum wage to afford a two-bedroom apartment." KPCC's Ben Bergman (@thebenbergman) reported on this topic last year and he wants to hear about your apartment search
  • There was big Disney news yesterday. ABC News President Ben Sherwood will become chairman of Disney Media Networks and president of the Disney/ABC Television Group in February (KPCC). He will replace Anne Sweeney, who is leaving Disney to pursue TV directing. The Wrap analyzes the issues that Sherwood will need to address in his new position. 
  • Disney plans to buy Maker Studios, a Culver City-based digital video firm, for $500 million (KPCC). This is a way for the company to reach out to millennials, who aren't brand-loyal, but listen to what their friends recommend on social media. Variety says to expect more entertainment companies to make deals with multi-channel networks.
  • Walgreens says it will close 76 stores, including 14 in the Western region (Los Angeles Times). The move comes as the company posted weaker profits in its second quarter. 
  • L.A. retailer American Apparel says it will sell $30.5 million in stock, to generate working capital for the troubled company and pay down debt (Bloomberg).  The company's stock isn't doing well in the market. On Tuesday morning it was selling for 61 cents, down 15 cents.
  • A groundbreaking was held for the $350 million Westfield Village at Topanga, an outdoor shopping area in Woodland Hills (Los Angeles Daily News). Daily News reporter Gregory J. Wilcox says the Village will generate 1,400 construction jobs and 1,500 direct jobs.
  • The Oprah Winfrey Network is moving its L.A. headquarters to West Hollywood  (The Hollywood Reporter). Hollwood Reporter's Lacey Rose says the new building will give the company access to sound stages and screening rooms.
  • Google Glass could become fashionable. Google announced a partnership with Luxottica Group, the makers of Ray-Ban and Oakley glasses (PCMag).

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