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Frank McCourt speaks outside of Dodgers Stadium.
After countless court hearings, an ugly divorce and two long years, the Los Angeles Dodgers will soon be free of the McCourts.
Last night, in a stunning about-face, Frank Court and Major League Baseball made a deal to move forward with selling the team. The U.S. Bankruptcy Court will have to approve the auction which is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium, the surrounding parking lots and media rights. It could all go for a billion dollars or more; McCourt paid $421 million seven years ago.
In a joint statement from MLB and McCourt, it's said the sale will be a "court-supervised process" managed by Blackstone Group LP. Who the potential buyers are depends on the price.
Yesterday, the “Los Angeles Times” reported that Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, offered to buy the Dodgers months ago, but balked at a billion-plus dollar price tag. A spokesman for McCourt denied that ever happened, but with this new development Cuban's name is back at the top of the list of buyers.
Who else is on the list? What is the value of the team and its assets? There were rumors several weeks ago about foreign buyers. Would MLB approve that? How long could this process take? What does this mean for players, fans and next season?
Andrew Zimbalist, professor of economics at Smith College; his latest book is "Circling the Bases: Essays on the Challenges and Prospects of the Sports Industry"