Why so many bidders for the Dodgers?

In case you haven't heard, billionaire Tom Barrack of Colony Capital is interested, reports the LAT. There's also Stan Gold paired with the Disney family, Rick Caruso paired with Joe Torre, Magic Johnson paired with a major investment firm, hedge fund billionaire Steven Cohen, former owner Peter O'Malley, and a bunch of others - including, perhaps, several parties who have chosen to remain in the shadows (this is a private bidding, after all). The sizable interest is quite a contrast to the last time the Dodgers were on the block in 2004 and Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig was stuck with Frank McCourt, who, as you'll recall, put up little or no money for the team. So why the change? There's no ready made answer, but among the possibilities:

--The Dodgers are a pricier property: Back in 2004, the franchise was valued at $399 million, according to Forbes; last year, the figure was $800 million, and after the sale it will almost certainly be north of $1 billion.

--Financials are better: Yes, there's all that McCourt-related debt, but the baseball business makes a bunch of money.

--TV rights: Big-market teams have been cleaning up in recent years, and the L.A. market is considered especially lucrative. That's why Fox and Time Warner Cable are likely to duke it out later this year.

--Money on the sidelines: Rich guys are sitting on buckets of cash these days, so why not take a chance on a pro team?

--Bud Selig's non-involvement: Total speculation on my part, but it's worth noting that as part of the deal cut with McCourt, the baseball commissioner will not oversee the auction process - and Selig has been known to manipulate franchise sales. With McCourt, the bidding is likely to be straight forward. In other words, the highest price wins.

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Mark Lacter
Mark Lacter created the LA Biz Observed blog in 2006. He posted until the day before his death on Nov. 13, 2013.
Mark Lacter, business writer and editor was 59
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