Sunday, February 05, 2012

Frank McCourt becomes Wilpon guardian angel, Dodgers auction prices soar raising value of Mets to possibly $3 billion

2/4/12, Bill Madden, "Ever so gradually, Frank McCourt has gone from the most villified owner in baseball to everyone’s guardian angel; from Bud Selig’s worst nightmare to the commissioner’s fondest dream.

Such is the stunning fallout from McCourt plunging the Los Angeles Dodgers into bankruptcy court and the subsequent forced auction in which seven or eight of the richest men in America are all bidding against each other for the right to own one of baseball’s signature franchises. The first elimination round was completed last week with those advancing all committed to paying a minimum of $1.5 billion for the team. When you consider the previous highest price a baseball team fetched was the $845 million from Tom Ricketts for the Chicago Cubs in 2009, this is staggering, especially when you also consider the substantial wealth of all the remaining bidders will surely drive the ultimate sale price to $2 billion."...

  • (Ed. note: This validates recent news reports that the rich have gotten richer in the past few years.)

(continuing, Bill Madden): "Suddenly, from the unlikeliest of sources, franchise values in baseball are about to take a quantum leap that, as recently as six months ago, nobody in the game could have foreseen. “It’s mind-boggling,” said one industry insider. “If the Dodgers are worth two billion, what are the Yankees worth? Between their brand alone, plus their network, stadium and all their other built-in revenue, you’d have to say almost twice as much.”

To which I countered: Never mind the Yankees. What about the Mets?

The Mets,” the insider said, “are probably the biggest beneficiaries of all in this Dodger sale.

Who’d have thought it? Certainly not Fred Wilpon. But Frank McCourt is about to be his salvation. For if the Dodgers wind up selling for $2 billion or more, the value of the Mets, a signature franchise in their own right, in the country’s largest media market with their own network and new stadium, despite their present hard times, have to be worth close to $3 billion. “What that means,” said the insider, “is that the Wilpons can now go back to their banks, point to the value of the team, and say: ‘Lend us more money.’” Yes, thanks to Frank McCourt’s multi-million dollar divorce, which set in motion this ironic sequence of events, Wilpon is about to have more collateral than he ever dreamed of....

Now, 14 years later, O’Malley is back, aligned with one of the remaining bidding groups, trying to buy the Dodgers back for nearly three times more than what he sold them for.

So what happened?...“You can’t underestimate the value of an expiring TV deal in that market, with both Fox and Time Warner competing against each other. Now, under Selig, baseball has had years of labor peace

  • and franchise values have continued to increase considerably.”"...

2/4/12, "If Frank McCourt's L.A. Dodgers go for $2 billion, Fred Wilpon's NY Mets could be worth more," Bill Madden, NY Daily News

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