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If the fans don't come, does that really mean Frank McCourt goes?

Frank-mccourt_300 That is, of course, the theory. He’s hurting for money, so bleed him out.

The logic is pretty simple: If fans stay away, that’s a lot of parking fees, hot dogs, drinks and souvenirs that go unsold. A lot of cash that dries up for a man deeply in debt.

This movement started last season, many becoming upset during the divorce proceedings when Frank and Jamie McCourt lavish lifestyles became so embarrassingly public.

Season tickets were already sold, however, and the backlash was mostly seen by the swelling number of no-shows. And they were significant. Baseball’s attendance figures are for tickets sold, so whereas the Dodgers might announce a crowd of 44,000, there were commonly nights where the actual crowd appeared 25% less.

Only now even the announced crowds are plummeting, indicating season tickets are down significantly, which the Dodgers deny.

The crowds over the weekend against the Cardinals were so off, they were just shy of embarrassing -- 31,614 on Saturday and 27,439 on Sunday. That’s not discounting the no-shows.


Now the cause of this decline can be viewed as multidimensional -- the beating of the Giants fan on opening day has some concerned for their safety, the team appears mediocre, the economy remains bad.

No doubt all of that plays some factor, but safety issues at Dodger Stadium are not new, the economy has been bad for awhile and the team wasn’t exactly a thrill-a-minute last season, either.

That leaves a McCourt backlash as the driving factor, and on that, I’m buying. A growing number of people are fed up with the McCourt ownership and are trying to make it known with closed wallets.

McCourt somehow -- amazingly -- continues to be propped up financially by Fox. They’ve made him a second loan, this one The Times' Bill Shaikin reported as a personal loan for $30 million to cover expenses into next month. McCourt’s grand bailout scheme is to sign an approximate 20-year, $3-billion deal with Fox.

Commissioner Bud Selig is understandably in no hurry to approve that deal, and since a significant chunk of it will be to pay off over $400 million in debt and to settle his divorce, he may not approve it at all.

Meanwhile, through eight home games, attendance at Dodger Stadium is already almost 50,000 off. And when you have the largest venue in baseball at 56,000, it is almost eerie when half-full.

Thanks to strong sales on opening weekend against the Giants, the Dodgers are still fourth overall in average major-league attendance (40,270). Yet if this current trend continues, they will slowly retreat toward the middle of the pack.

And that has to be a huge financial blow to McCourt, maybe even enough to finally force his hand. Anyway, that’s the theory.

-- Steve Dilbeck

Photo: Frank McCourt. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images

 
Comments () | Archives (45)

The comments to this entry are closed.

Yup, safety and the economy are not the issue. I bleed Dodger blue but will not return to Dodger Stadium until McCourt sells the team.

In my humble opinion, financial pressure from the fans results in lower revenues from parking, concessions, merchandise, ticket sales, and box rentals. Eventually, advertisers want to lower their fees with less eyeballs on the Dodgers be it at the stadium, on the radio or TV. Perhaps this sort of pressure forces Frank to re-think his strategy, that is fielding a mediocre team under the operation of his current GM. Lower revenues will force him to re-think his position. Even with a great Fox TV deal, if he wants to maximize his finances, he will need to field a competitive team.

Revenues will increase if the Dodgers could assemble a team capable of competing against the elite teams. Its not so much that Frank must go (although I hope he does, along with the GM), but the number one issue is fielding an elite team. If Frank and his GM could field an elite team, all would be forgiven.

The possible reason you seem to have left out IS the increased security. It keeps the thug element out, but this very element is what was filling the stands, night in and night out. The people who complain about the unsafe environment don't really go to many games anyway.

Its a terrible and sad reality.

and perhaps some of the absences are from "gangbangers" staying away because of the enhanced police presence?

McDork must go.Boy-cot- boy-cot -BOY-COT-BOY-COT...McDork must go ..BOY-COT

To me F. McCourt seem to be good at getting and using other peoples money. How he does at paying it back, at this time, I don't know but if he's not too deep in debt I personally think he can pull off this deal with FOX. Right now it's in the Commissioner's hands. If Selig rejects the deal, I think the garbage will hit the fan. Unless McCourt has a backup plan I think he will sue Selig.
What happens after that, I've no idea at the moment.

If Frank & Furter could field an elite team, we'd be in a parallel universe. Frank hasn't got the brains of an ice cube when it comes to baseball (or people for that matter), and he's already given Ned $300+ million and all he came back with was JP, AJ, Schmidt, Manny, other crap too numerous to bother making a list, and now Uribe and Lilly. I doubt these two clowns could put together an elite team in a one team league.

How long would it take to run him out of town on a rail?

Frank McCourt will not survive Los Angeles. The reason he leaves doesn't much matter although the sooner the better for those who love baseball. Dodger fans are going to do everything they can to drive the despicable McCourts out of OUR town. Our motivation is not to destroy McCourt...we know one day he will do that himself. Our motivation is to preserve the integrity of Jackie Robinson and Sandy Koufax and Vin Scully and all that the game of baseball represents...for ourselves...for our children...and for all the children to come. No man or television network is big enough to destroy the Dodgers over the long haul. Dodger fans will never surrender that piece of our true blue hearts that Frank McCourt and FOX are trying to steal. As I recently told my 8 year old grandson.....there IS a Santa Claus....and he IS a Dodger fan! So don't stop believin'....

My first two games will be away games in Pittsburgh, and I plan to cut way back on the number of home games I attend. Why? Because of McCourt.

I stopped going to the games after some drunken low-riders banged up my car in the parking lot. Beyond that, about the only thing interesting about this year's team is how good Matt Kemp can be. If the Dodgers can keep their regulars healthy they may have a chance at a winning season, but with half the current position players hitting at or below the "Mendoza line", it doesn't look promising.

I am staying away from Dodger Stadium 100% because of the McCourts. I am also encouraging others to do the same. I still support the team whole heartedly but do not want my money going to the McCourts. I really hope the commissioner's office is taking notice of what's going on here and doesn't let the Fox deal go through. There is absolutely no evidence that the money from the deal would be used to better the team, the stadium or the fans. Frank's track record speaks for itself: shady business deals, massive debt, and all kinds of "pie in the sky" plans that never come to fruition.
I really hope Dodger fans continue to stay away from the stadium and support the blue at home listening to Vin.

Bottom line, the fans will come regardless of ownership if a winning team is put on the field. So far the Dodger offense has been pathetic to say the least . Our infield is probably the weakest hitting infield in baseball. I put the attendance numbers on the shoulders of Ned Colletti who failed to address the teams needs this off season. Juan Uribe hasn't hit a lick, Garland just got destroyed by the Cards, Casey Blake is old, Rafael can't stay healthy, Broxton has been the luckiest closer in the bigs (despite giving up runs in virtually every appearance), he signed Padilla to a new contract which immediately followed surgery, Bellasario can't get his visa , Hawksworth and Lilly have been mediocre. The overall makeup of this team with the exception of a few bright spots is just not capable of competing with the elite teams in NL over the course of an entire season. You don't have to have a high payroll to have success in the bigs but when the Dodger have spent money they have flush it down the toilet with terrible free agent acquisitions!!!

Hey what do you say we boycott Fox. If they are his life line...

It is time for Dodger FANS to vote McCourt out with our wallets. Go back to Boston and take that woman with you.

I feel sorry for Vince Scully. No wonder this will be his last year.

Thanx for doing the article steve, we are boycotting. Fans are fed up with McCourt, EVERYONE talks about it, he's a jerk.

Lets force him out!

Boycott McCourt! Write the commissioner!

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Address: 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
City: New York, State: NY Zip Code: 10167

I am hoping that the fans that will attend will start chanting "Sell, sell, sell."

"If the fans don't come, does that really mean Frank McCourt goes?"


- kicking & screaming, if ever... talk about 'luck of the Irish', I'm starting to fear this cat might be bulletproof.


Over-simplification to be sure but this is a guy who in essence bought/traded a parking lot for a baseball team.


What's he going to do for an encore - turn water into wine?

I think another reason not mentioned and a probable reason for the low attendance is the presence of so many police. I know you might argue that if you have good behavior there is no reason to worry. I have and will always attend dodger stadium, including twice in this homestand, but I have to admit with so many police around it kind of takes away from the atmosphere. The dodgers have a significant urban population and I think many, young people especially, feel less than comfortable with so many cops on patrol. Just a thought.

Question:
.
If Fox holds a huge chunk of McCourt's debt and McCourt defaults on that debt to Fox does that mean the return of Fox to Dodger Stadium?
.
Answer:
.
OMG!

The media and fans are sheeps and wimps.
ive beens saying this about mccourt ever since he bought the team.
i stopped going to games years ago.

like the steroid scandal, the media and fans are always late the party

mccourt will make out a millionaire no matter what happens.

YES! Get rid of him by not going. That's the only way. A "TRUE" Dodger fan will revolt against this plague we call Frank McCourt. He's a joke. Don't buy his product. You're not boycotting the Dodgers, you're sending a message to him and MLB.

Of course we are boycotting!!

In fact, I went to my first Angels game last weekend and got to see Weaver strike out 15. It took about the same time to drive down to Anaheim as it does to brave the freeway to Chavez Ravine, too.

Despite it being the Angels (bleh!), the ballpark and experience in general could not have been more family friendly, clean, and enjoyable. I will never be an Angels fan, but I gotta say... it was a great game.

McCourt can choke on it.

I will not buy Dodger products, go to a game in L.A., and will spread the word about that scumbag McCourt until he leaves. This is all Selig's fault for letting a man with no actual money purchase one of the storied franchises in sports just so they couldn't spend money like the teams back east and become the west coast Yankees. Selig deserves this disaster but unfortunately the only ones that are suffering are all of us Dodger fans.

Uh, someone tell the LA Dodgers to 'lose' the 'Viva Los Dodgers' celebrational crap !!
It's a small portion of the 'loser' latino fanbase that have turned off a lot of fans, therefore the 'no shows'..
No caucasion family has to put up with loser cholo's , cursing and drinking beer all night long.

Count me in as a proud member of the boycott mccheap team, sponsoring the true LA Dodgers!

We used to go several times a year, and sat at field level. I watched every single game I couldn't attend, followed the team religiously. But learning that the McCourts siphoned our hard earned money from the team for their own ridiculously lavish lifestyles while they cheaped out on the team's best interests was enough for me to decide we would not attend a game, purchase a single Dodger item, nor would we watch a game on TV until the team is sold. Don't forget, he actually said he didn't have to spend good money on players because this wasn't a strong division, and all he had to do to keep fans in the park was make the playoffs, he really never cared if they were true contenders. They make me sick. Until OUR team is out of their hands, the only way I can show my love for them is to boycott. The saddest part is knowing that this is Vin's last year, and most likely my boy Andre's. I just hope Frank augers in quickly, so at least I can see some boys in blue before the end of the season.

I plan to attend when they play the Padres in SD. My $ is better spent going to their organization - but I'll be wearing my Dodger blue!

OK, the team stinks, and is boring, but it's stunk before and people still came out. McCourt has ruined a great franchise, now it's the fans turn to ruin him! This is what happens when you buy something you really can't afford. Take the hint Frank.

As a life long Dodger fan, It is really difficult to stay away from the stadium. I don't fear for my life nor have felt the effect of the economy as much as others. I don't go because I despise McCourt and can't wait for him to leave town once and for all. I will continue to watch on TV until he leaves the team for good.

Write the commissioner's office and plead with Bud Lite to get McCourt OUT as owner of one of the previous great franchises in baseball.

McCourt and his frivolous personal spending habits MUST GO! He couldn't afford the team before the divorce and there is no way he should be allowed to bleed the team.

I won't be returning until Mccourt is gone.
Let Selig know we won't stand for more Mccourt.

The Office of the Commissioner of Baseball
Allan H. (Bud) Selig, Commissioner
Address: 245 Park Avenue, 31st Floor
City: New York, State: NY Zip Code: 10167
Phone: 212-931-7800
Fax: 212-949-5654

FRANK MUST GO!!! FRANK MUST GO!!! FRANK MUST GO!!!

My Dodger Roots run deep but until there is a new owner I vote for a boycott of ALL homegames. The loser gangbangers that claim to be Dodger fans are just icing on the cake. With 250 shopping days left all I want for Christmas is new ownership and NOT a McCourt.

Question:
.
If Fox holds a huge chunk of McCourt's debt and McCourt defaults on that debt to Fox does that mean the return of Fox to Dodger Stadium?
.
Answer:
.
OMG!

Posted by: Robert Daly

=================
I had that same awful thought this morning while I was doing yardwork. If McScum can't pay his bills next month and has the gall to ask Fox for another loan, Fox might offer to buy a controlling interest in the team from McScum. Frankie can then pay all his bills, but Fox will be the legal owner. Then we'll have not one, but TWO of the worst owners in professional sports. EEEEWWWWWW...

Keep boycotting McClown! If Egyptians can get their prime minister out by making news, maybe Dodger fans can too. God, imagine IF Fox got oontrol of the Dodgers--Joe freakin Buck as announcer??!! Just shoot me now..

I live in south Florida. Those dwindling attendance stats that are at Dodger Stadium are numbers that Marlins would die for.

As long as a McCourt owns the team I'll stay away. I went to 32 games last year. This year one, on Saturday. And there were less than 25,000 people there no matter what was announced.

I know several EX-season ticket holders who stop buying tickets because the McCourts do not pay taxes! I mean, these people use our city's resources, roads, etc, but doesn't pay chit of taxes? That's just disgusting...Or what about the initial plans this nincompoop (Frank) had about raises prices for tickets and parking fees to bank roll his aspirations of buying a soccer team with the Chinese. Keep gouging the fans...I mean, huh? Why would I support (ticket sales and fan support) a business that gets out of paying their fair share of taxes? In the end, it seems like McCourts inadvertently gave the organization a new found meaning to its name: Tax Dodgers. That my friends is a big....Everything else going on at the stadium is just all the karma that family deserves.

What will it take to drive this money changer from the temple? McCourt and his ex-wife exemplify everythng bad about team owners. Their unbridled greed and apparent lack of concern for the comfort and general well-being of the very people who support their team demonstates their outdated "greed is good" additude & lifestyle.
I will support the players & the team by attending games in SF, SD, AZ & CO. I will never attend another game at a McCourt owned Dodger Stadium. My sincere hope is that attendance continues to plumment & Mc Court is forced into the arms of the U.S. Trustee.
They are a disgrace to the Dodgers and to Los Angeles. Let'm go back to Boston.

Brooklyn West,

I think Bud Selig just gave you your answer.

Watching the game on tv last night I couldn't help but be appalled at the increased distractions that McCourt has put into the stadium--more and more advertising. Remember when the only advertising was the "Coke" or "76" sign atop the scoreboard? Now it's like pop up ads everywhere. Nibbling the fans to disinterest little by little. I used to go to 15-20 games a year, used to be fun, now it's work. So I don't go.

Baseball fans are morons. They don't know a balance sheet from a hole in the ground. Unless you have a vested financial stake, they are not "your team"-you are just a patron. A sports franchise is not public property.


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