Initial bids have been made in Frank McCourt’s sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the bidding could get as high as $2 billion, according to the Los Angeles Times (via Hardball Talk).Bidders include high profile names like Mark Cuban, Joe Torre, and Magic Johnson, but a lesser known personality, Leo Hindery, is the one with the potential to drive the price of one of baseball’s most storied franchises significantly upward.
Hindery, managing partner for an investment firm specializing in media deals, founded the Yankees’ YES network, a.k.a. a cash cow.
That could make it more likely that McCourt gets a figure in the range of $1.5 billion to $2 billion, rather than in the range of $1 billion to $1.5 billion.
The Dodgers’ television contract with Fox Sports expires after the 2013 season. The new owner can launch a Dodgers cable channel — or leverage that threat to spur bidding between Fox and rival Time Warner Cable.
The LA Times report mentions that launching a successful regional sports network (RSN) centered around the Dodgers would be much more difficult than when Hindery helped launch the YES network, however. When YES was launched in New York there were few RSNs in the market, but by the time the Dodgers potentially get their own network it will come after the L.A. area already has five RSNs.
Even if the bidding price does not reach $2 billion, the initial $1.2 billion estimates would still be significantly more than any other MLB team sale, ever.
Not to mention, a lot more than the $421 million McCourt payed for the team when he bought it from FOX in 2004 or the $130 million he owes his ex-wife after a nasty public divorce.