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Could Mets saga offer hint of Dodgers' future?

As Los Angeles awaits a resolution in the battle for ownership of the Dodgers -- a resolution that could be a year or more away if Frank and Jamie McCourt cannot settle their divorce -- the fate of the New York Mets could provide a clue about the fate of the Dodgers.

Wilpon_200 The Mets' owners announced Friday they would consider selling 20% to 25% of the franchise. The owners need money -- they face significant liability associated with the Bernie Madoff scandal -- and Forbes values the Mets at $858 million. At that value, the Mets' owners could generate about $200 million by selling a minority interest in the team.

"I want to emphasize what we are discussing has not and will not affect or change the Mets' day-to-day operations and control," principal owner Fred Wilpon said during a conference call with reporters.

Easier said than done, according to experts in sports finance.

Frank McCourt has said repeatedly that he is not interested in selling any part of the Dodgers. Indeed, he raised a relatively small share of the money to buy the team with loans from would-be investors, in deals in which he would not cede any share of ownership unless he failed to repay the loans.

However, Jamie McCourt's lawyers have suggested that Frank might need to sell a minority interest in the team to settle the divorce, either to buy out his ex-wife or to raise the capital necessary to run the team as business partners.

If Frank changes his mind -- or if the court orders him to -- the Dodgers could announce the sale of, say, 20%-25% of the team. Forbes values the Dodgers at $727 million, so such a sale could generate upward of $150 million.

Here's the problem: There is no shortage of vanity investors, rich folks who would put in $1 million or $10 million for access to the owner's suite and the chance to wear a championship ring. However, an investor putting up $100 million or more generally wants control over how his money is spent -- that is, a chance to run the team.

"People who buy teams want to put their imprints on them, and without control, you can't do that," Andrew Murstein, president of Medallion Financial Corp., told the New York Times.

If Wilpon can sell a minority interest and retain control of the Mets, that would appear to make it more likely that Frank McCourt could do the same with the Dodgers. However, Commissioner Bud Selig has not met with McCourt and has reserved his right to veto any sale of a minority interest in the Dodgers.

Selig is expected to meet with Wilpon on Tuesday, according to the New York Daily News.

-- Bill Shaikin

Photo: Fred Wilpon. Credit: Kathy Kmonicek / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (18)

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If our trust is in Bud were dead on arrival.

the shared fates of both the Dodgers and the Mets are inextricably intertwined due to geography and culture.

Both want to believe that they are special in some nostalgic way that hearkens back to "Old New Yawk".

Both sell themselves as The Underdog and the natural alternative to the Yankee Mystic.

But in reality, both are just slightly better than the Chi Cubs .... *losers*!

*( just not perennial losers )

I understand that the Steinbrenners own only 32.9% of the Yankees I would assume that the other 67.1% is owned by many. Maybe the Wilpons should make sure that 25% or so is divided up by many so they'll assure themselves of not losing control of the team.
Frank McCourt and or Jamie McCourt should give that a little thought also.
Just me 2 cents.

@ dodgers suck......except the cubs have never won a world series title...THE DODGERS HAVE!!! typical yankee fan....wont be happy until all the other teams are bankrupt and only the red sox and yankees remain...playing only each other every season....boy that sounds exciting!! NOTTT

Dodger fans should not settle for anything less than A COMPLETE NEW OWNERSHIP..... Anything less is a typical bud selig insult through his favorite owner PT BARNUM mccourt. All he wants is a good enough team to fill the stadium. Judging by what he has done so far, a terrible team, I would say he has been extremely successful. Just keep throwin 50 t0 100 bucks per person at this guy and you will get a team that does not have a quality player or star player. franky loves it 85 to 100 million dollars in expenses per year(including his next house and his next ex-wife) and he gets 3 million of you at 50 t0 100 bucks a pop, do the math.. he laughs ALL THE WAY to THE BANK, with your EARNINGS....Keep it up.

One imperiled circumstance (Dodgers Ownership) calls for an exception.

Two imperiled circumstances (Dodgers + Mets Ownership) beg for a a rule.

Selig had better get off his duff and devise a protocol for dealing with wobbling franchises.

Sell the team and go back to boston

Hey Bud- we gotta problem here in LA with the Dodger team ownership.

We just channeled Jim Murray and he says it's all your fault for selling us out to a chowderhead with a penchant for parking lots.

Jim says fix it.

give the cubs their due....

they won the World Series in 1907 and 1908, beating the Tigers both years. Last of the eight times they lost the Series was in 1945 - to the Tigers no less.

Its an interesting way to make conversation, but I'm not convinced Mets' proceedings have a connection to the Dodgers in the future. I honestly think Frank and Jamie are all or nothing - their past says that to me.

I haven't heard a peep about them two keeping the Dodgers and percentaging ownership between them - much less anyone else.

It would be harder for them to be the snakes in the grass that they are if others were part of ownership. Won't happen.

A minority, non-controlling interest of, say, 20% does not have the same value as the whole business. To sell a minority piece to other than a dumb ego buyer, McCourt would have to sell it at a discount.

I like baseball.
I could bring the party back to Dodger Stadium.

@alanw19...your conclusion is 100% accurate but offensive to snakes.

boycott the dodgers until frank sells

Frank doesn't work well with others. Why would anyone would buy a minority part of the Dodgers, with Frank have majority control? There is $450 million in debt, $650 million in liabilities, pretty much every revenue stream has been securitized or put up for loans as collateral. The turnover in the Front office is disturbing enough, given how many people have been fired or left, From Dennis Mannion to Dr. Charles Steinberg. No one is going sit around, or enjoy an executive suite at Dodgers Stadium when they see how the team and Dodger Stadium are run, let alone the debt load.

Anyone remember the name,......'Al Davis' ?? The 51 percent majority owner of the Oakland Raiders ???

Some posters herein are forgetting Important Factoid #1: The situation with Wilpon is not the situation with McCourt. THE WILPONS HAVE NOT DIVORCED. CALIFORNIA IS A COMMUNITY PROPERTY STATE. Frank CAN'T sell SQUAT to NOBODY. He would be monkeying with Jamie's assets. The court would STOP him. He is up (the) creek. He crawls to MLB for either a loan or the okay on Fox's loan. At some point this judge is gonna wake up and smell Jamie's rights. He threw out the ONLY agreement claiming Frank owned the team solo. What else is left McCourt can use to keep it all to himself?! He got NUTTIN. Or he woulda used it in the trial. He IS finished. It's only a matter of time. He just needs a big push from us to stop the money flowing to him, which is our boycott. That KILLS him, LEGALLY. The more we all stay away, the sooner he GOES AWAY. Otherwise he can delay Jamie getting hers for over another year. We need to help her collect NOW, from the sale that will remove them both. DON'T GO, and don't buy ANYthing that goes to him, which is unfortunately everything the Dodgers sell. It's that simple.

As for Wilpon, that situation with the New York Mess works beautifully for us. Wilpon is FORCING MLB to pay attention to their #1 and #2 fan bases. Selig wants to let the Dodgers twirl around in the wind cuz Frank's his boy, but he and MLB HAVE to address the Mess mess. They can't without also addressing the other team that's financially up the creek, in Frank's case with BILLS, he owing more on the Dodgers than they're worth. At some point that bubble's gonna hafta burst. We just need to make it sooner than later. When word leaks that Frank can't make payroll cuz there are only 18,000 fannies in the seats, WE WIN. Either MLB, or a court beforehand, will have to say enough is enough and force that sale.

Ferret is right! It's time for Dodger fans to boycott Dodger stadium until the McCourts leave L.A. Go to college games, minor league games, and little league games instead. Get your baseball fix that way or on television.


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