LA Dodgers: Magic Johnson, Almost Oakland A’s Owner, Gets Team
In 1997, while Economic Advisor To Elihu Harris when he was Mayor Of Oakland, this blogger was tasked with the work of finding a buyer for the Oakland Athletics. One of the buyer groups I put together consisted of Magic Johnson (who was represented by his then-agent Lon Rosen) and Frank Robinson.
A deal that would have paired Johnson and Robinson with then-Sacramento Kings Limited Partner John Keriotis was on it’s way to formation, but could never agree to terms. Then another group that didn’t come from me and was headed by Robert M. Piccinini: CEO of Save Mart Supermarkets came forward and almost had the team. But I wasn’t excited about him because frankly, it didn’t involve me and it didn’t have Magic Johnson. (And speaks to Oakland’s weird loser quirk where some councilmembers didn’t want to see me do a deal, and pushed for Piccinini, rather than bringing him with Magic.)
I wanted to see Magic own the Oakland A’s, and not just because it was him, but because it would be a great thing to have a black person owning, rather than playing for, a sports franchise.
Well, now, 15 years later, it happened: Magic Johnson owns part of The LA Dodgers. According to CNN, Johnson said “I am thrilled to be part of the historic Dodger franchise and intend to build on the fantastic foundation laid by Frank McCourt as we drive the Dodgers back to the front page of the sports section in our wonderful community of Los Angeles.”
Nice. And Johnson, the Chairman and Chief Operating Officer of Magic Johnson Enterprises Inc., is part of a group with “controlling partner” Mark Walter and partners Peter Guber (who also owns part of the Golden State Warriors), Stan Kasten, Bobby Patton and Todd Boehly. Together, the organization of sports and entertainment business people bid $2.15 Billion for the LA Dodgers.
Now that the deal I have wanted to see for so long is done, Magic and the gang have a lot of work to do. The first job is restoring the Dodgers to a sound business footing after the mess that Frank Mc made of it. That’s far more important than winning The World Series at this point in time. Getting a really good TV contract is the first order of business, and even though they’re forced to wait until November to have one, it’s not too late to make an argument for a deal that can help propel the Dodgers to greatness.