Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball (MLB) have reached an agreement for the team to be sold at auction.
A bankruptcy court must still approve the auction, but the sale could help the team move beyond some of the fiscal and ticketing uncertainty that has hurt the team for more than a season.
“The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed to a court-supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process,” MLB and McCourt said in a joint statement on November 2.
McCourt bought the team, Dodger Stadium and adjacent parking lots in 2004 for $421 million. Estimates vary, but the team and assets could fetch close to $1 billion or more at auction.
A specific time frame for the sale has not been determined, but MLB said it hopes a new owner is in place by the start of the 2012 season.
Dodger season ticket holders petitioned the court to have a say in the bankruptcy proceedings. Late last month, the ad hoc group of 17,000 fans was granted two seats at the table.
Robbin Itkin, the attorney representing the season ticket holders, expressed gratitude last month when their request was granted.
“This resolution allows for the immediate participation of two season ticket holders on the official committee so that hopefully the perspectives and salient interests of the season tickets holders will be represented in the actions of the official committee,” Itkin said in a statement.
Team attendance at Dodger Stadium reportedly dropped nearly 20 percent in 2011. The Dodgers will lower ticket prices in 2012 in an attempt to turn things around.