LOS ANGELES – Magic Johnson is about to learn $2 billion only buys you so much. Now he’ll need to bring the Los Angeles Dodgers the same success he brought the Lakers.
News that Johnson and his partners agreed to buy the team sparked a groundswell of excited chatter and optimism Wednesday that the man who ran Showtime could restore luster to the once-proud franchise.
The amount Johnson and his partners are paying would be mind-blowing if it was just for the team itself. But it also gives Johnson’s group the right to reel in future riches from TV and real estate associated with the Dodgers.
A big part of the purchase price is all those other things, said David Carter, executive director of USC Sports Business Institute. You’ve got a great piece of property you can develop and make a game-day experience around Chavez Ravine. A likely billion-dollar cable (television) rights deal that will come out of it makes it a very unique sale.
Current owner Frank McCourt handpicked Johnson’s group to buy the Dodgers just five hours after Major League Baseball approved three finalists in a bankruptcy auction.
Great day for the Dodgers, slugger Matt Kemp said from spring training in Glendale, Ariz. As Magic used to say, the Dodgers were the team that used to run L.A. Definitely we were going to have more fans out there this year. Now there’s another reason to have the fans turn out.
Retired Dodgers manager Tom Lasorda has known Johnson since he first came to play for the Lakers.
The most important part is he’ll talk to some of the players individually about how to win. That’s what we got to do right now is win again and bring our fans back, he said. He knows how to talk to people, he knows how to impress people and how to build people up.
Hours after the announcement that Johnson’s group was the winning bidder, the Dodgers said their April 10 home opener was sold out.
As soon as you hear the name Magic Johnson, it turns into a positive, Dodgers manager Don Mattingly said. There’s positive energy around the ball club, around the city.
MARINERS 3, ATHLETICS 1, 11 inn.: In Tokyo, Ichiro Suzuki had four hits in his return to Japan, Dustin Ackley homered and then singled in the go-ahead run in the 11th inning to lift Seattle in baseball’s season opener.
Felix Hernandez combined with two relievers on a six-hitter as Major League Baseball opened its season in Tokyo for the fourth time.
Seattle and Oakland complete their two-game series today. The rest of the big-league teams will start to get going Wednesday, when the renamed Miami Marlins open their new ballpark against the World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals.
Ackley homered in the fourth off Brandon McCarthy, and Oakland’s Kurt Suzuki doubled in a run in the bottom half. The score remained 1-1 until the 11th, when Brendan Ryan doubled against Andrew Carignan (0-1), Chone Figgins sacrificed and Ackley singled to center.
I was able to put a good swing on that one, Ackley said of his 11th-inning hit.