On March 27, 2012, embattled owner Frank McCourt agreed to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise to Guggenheim Baseball Management for a record $2 billion. It ended a months-long process as it was in November of 2011 that McCourt signed off on selling the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding real estate.
The sale price shattered the $1.47 billion Malcolm Glazer paid for English soccer team, Manchester United, in 2005. While a deal was in place, it required final confirmation in a court hearing on April 13 of that year.
The Guggenheim group was headed by principle owner Mark Walter and included team president and CEO Stan Kasten, and part-owners Todd Boehly, Peter Guber, Magic Johnson and Bobby Patton.
McCourt purchased the Dodgers from NewsCorp in February 2004 for $420 million, though in a deal that was heavily financed.
They reached the postseason four times in McCourt’s six years as owner, in 2008 won a playoff series for the first time in 20 years and made back-to-back appearances in the National League Championship Series.
However, his tenure ultimately was marred and evaluated by multiple public relations missteps by McCourt and his wife, Jamie, instability within the organization and the couple’s eventual divorce. That came to light when news of their separation broke on the eve of the 2009 NLCS.
Then-commissioner Bud Selig announced in April 2012 that MLB was taking over operations of the Dodgers and appointing a trustee. Selig and McCourt traded public barbs as the Dodgers were dragged into bankruptcy before the two reached an agreement on terms to sell the team.
Upon officially taking control of the franchise, Guggenheim immediately moved to inspire faith from fans and get the team back on a competitive path. One of their more splashy acts was a trade with the Boston Red Sox in August 2012 that saw the Dodgers take on more than $250 million in salary.
Dodgers success under Guggenheim
The Dodgers have won the NL West in all but one of Guggenheim’s full seasons as owners (beginning in 2013). They reached the World Series in 2017 for the first time in 29 years and returned to the Fall Classic the following season. In 2019, the Dodgers set a franchise record with 106 wins, and won the 2020 World Series to end the championship drought.
Guggenheim has also overseen several upgrades to Dodger Stadium, including a $100 million project that was completed for the 2020 season.
Their ownership group grew to include Billie Jean King and Ilana Kloss in 2018 as minority stakeholders, and in 2019 Alan Smolinisky and Robert L. Plummer joined as part owners.
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