LOS ANGELES, Calif.–Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa said today he welcomed news of a pending sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers, but said he wanted the new owner to be somebody local.
“It absolutely has to be somebody from L.A., somebody who loves this town, who believes in this city and understands that the Dodgers aren’t just a team. They’re a collective community asset,” the mayor said.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced late Tuesday that they had agreed to a “court supervised process” to sell the team and its media rights. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process, according to the announcement.
Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, who had been resisting calls for him to sell the team, has reportedly said he hopes to sell the franchise for about $1 billion.
The Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in June, after McCourt claimed Allan Selig’s rejection of a media rights deal left him without the funds to meet the team’s payroll.
A new owner would be the third since Peter O’Malley sold the team to News Corp. in 1998.
Villaraigosa welcomed the proposed sale, saying it marked a new chapter for the team and the city.
“Obviously this has been a very, very tough season. I don’t have to tell you the pain and anguish that we all collectively felt at the beating of Bryan Stow,” the mayor said, referring to the opening-day attack on a San Francisco Giants fan in the parking lot of Dodger Stadium.
“I’m looking forward to local ownership,” Villaraigosa said. “I believe that whoever buys this team needs to live in this town, needs to be from this city.”
That would rule out Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who has been named in media reports as an interested party. The Los Angeles Times reported that Cuban had declined to get involved in purchase negotiations, citing the $1 billion asking price.
Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio and Boston Red Sox chairman Tom Werner both live in Los Angeles.
Other potential bidders for the franchise include Southern California businessmen Ron Burkle, Alec Gores and Alan Casden, The Times reported. Casden made an attempt to purchase the team before McCourt.
Fred Claire, who was the team’s general manager during its 1988 World Series championship, said today he was working with a group of investors to purchase the team.
“Our goal is to restore the Dodgers to their rightful place of leadership in the community, in Major League Baseball and on the international level,” Claire wrote on his Facebook page.
Claire worked for the Dodgers for 30 years. He was in the team’s marketing department before becoming its general manager.