The market for sports teams is hotter than ever, and the owners of the Los Angeles Dodgers have decided the time is right to sell a minority stake.
“During our five years with the Dodgers, we have had a steady stream of inquiries from different parties interested in becoming a part of Dodger ownership,” Chief Executive Officer Stan Kasten said.
“With continuing developments in the sports and entertainment industry, both domestically and internationally, we thought this might now be a good time to examine some of the opportunities more closely.”
The six-person ownership group has retained New York-based Galatioto Sports Partners to manage the sale process. As of now, there’s no timetable, said Sal Galatioto, founder of New York-based GSP, and it hasn’t been determined how big a stake could be sold or at what valuation.
The owners aren’t surrendering control of the franchise they bought in 2012 for $2.15 billion. Peter Schwartz, a consultant on strategy and business valuation at Anderson Economic Group in New York, said in his opinion, the Dodgers could fetch $2.5 billion, which would make them second to the New York Yankees among MLB teams.
Team valuations have been rising in all sports, buoyed by media deals that have only gotten bigger. In 2012, Time Warner Cable, which along with the Dodgers owns SportsNet LA, agreed to pay the current owners $8.3 billion over 25 years for the rights to games. The deal rattled the cable and satellite providers, who balked at the fees the regional sports network wanted to charge for its programming.
Any stake would come from all of the partners — Mark Walter, Todd Boehly, Bobby Patton of Fort Worth, Magic Johnson, Peter Guber and Kasten — and MLB must approve any sale. Kasten didn’t say how the proceeds would be used.
Patton principally operates oil and gas properties in Texas and Kansas and has additional investments in many other sectors, including ranching and insurance. A partner of Guggenheim Baseball Management, he became part owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2012. He also serves as the tournament chairman of the Dean & DeLucca Invitational PGA Tour event at Colonial Country Club in Fort Worth. Last September, Patton and his wife, Sherri, gave a $20 million gift to support faculty and graduate student endowments in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin.
The Dodgers have won their division the past four seasons and averaged 45,719 fans per game in 2016, leading MLB for the fourth consecutive year.
Korean newspapers reported in 2012 that the Dodgers were in talks to sell a minority ownership stake to a group of South Korean investors. No deal was completed. – FWBP staff contributed.