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 IF IT'S BROKEN...FIX IT

Getting Serious about LA’s Sidewalk Repairs: A Five-Point ‘Let’s-Get-On-with-It’ Plan

Ken Alpern
FIXING LA-Last Tuesday night's City Council Board of Public Works and Budget Committees met and allowed a lot of good public input to a series of concerned and available Councilmembers and City officials. The attendance and input were both outstanding--I want to thank Councilmember Mike Bonin, in particular, for allowing the outreach and advice to…

Latino Politicians Putting Climate Change Ahead of Constituents

Joel Kotkin
POLITICS-Racial and economic inequality may be key issues facing America today, but the steps often pushed by progressives, including minority politicians, seem more likely to exacerbate these divisions than repair them. In a broad arc of policies affecting everything from housing to employment, the agenda being adopted serves to stunt upward…

Worlds Apart on Kathryn Steinle: When Political Opportunism Reigns Supreme

John Mirisch
MUSING WITH MIRISCH-The small Swedish Jewish Museum in Stockholm is tucked away on a side street. Discreet signage instructs would-be visitors to push a button which activates a camera, so they can be screened before they are granted entry. The museum's permanent exhibition fills one fairly small room. Most of the objects on display are Jewish…

Garcetti Passes, Wesson Fails

Jack Humphreville
LA WATCHDOG-Our Los Angeles Times has issued midterm letter grades for Controller Ron Galperin (B-) and City Attorney Mike Feuer (B+) and will be posting grades for City Council President Herb Wesson this Sunday and Mayor Eric Garcetti the following Sunday. Our City is facing many difficult issues, ranging from a lagging economy, relatively high…

What LA Really Needs: A Part-time City Council and a Part-time Mayor!

Dennis Zine
JUST THE FACTS-There are so many serious and pressing problems facing the City of Los Angeles and few if any real solutions are being proposed or implemented by our elected and appointed leaders at City Hall. I will start with the current city budget. Former Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa had a $7.7 billion total budget in the 2013-2014 fiscal year.…

Why Don’t the City’s Women Managers Hire More Women?

Denyse Selesnick
MY TURN-Perusing the web is a little like the soap operas of yesteryear. You get suckered in! One link leads to another link and then one is exposed to a barrage both facts and idiocy. The reason for this discussion was my attending a July Valley Alliance of Neighborhood Councils (VANC) meeting with the Department of Water and Power. General…

Cleaning Up LA City Hall: ‘It’s What’s Legal That’s the Problem’

Bob Gelfand
GELFAND’S WORLD-Everyone understands that developers own our city government. Sure, there are some officials here and there who are upright and independent, but recent history shows that the developers typically get their way in spite of public opposition. Whether it is a zoning change for an office tower or the required permits for a new mall,…

Not So Fast LA! Let’s Consider the Real Costs of Hosting the Olympics before We Jump In

Greg Nelson
SPORTS POLITICS-On Monday, Boston withdrew from its offer to be the nation’s bidder for the 2024 Summer Olympic Games. In January, Los Angeles finished second to Boston when the U.S. Olympic Committee made its decision. After Boston was selected to polish up its bid before submitting it to the International Olympic Committee for a final decision,…

Party Crashing for Political Access: Schwarzenegger and My Pantsuit

Charlotte Laws
CALIFORNIA ACCESS POLITICS-Party crashing—or gate-crashing, as it is sometimes called—is an art form that I stumbled upon as a teen. I taught myself how to finagle into any event, anywhere, anytime. It required being part private eye, part actress and part chutzpah machine. I had to think outside of the box, throw myself into the role, and whip my…

 

Reynolds Rap Video: Joey has hope for the pope in Philly.





Art or Ad? LA’s mural law written in gray ink

Escape the Room-Conan goes for the record … and the laffs


LADWP Rates Overview

 

 

  

 

 

 

H A L L E L U J A H

SALE EASES DODGER BLUES - It is not even Easter, but Dodger fans of all faiths are standing together, lifting their arms, singing Handel’s Hallelujah Chorus, rejoicing at the good tidings of joy now that they have been magically saved from the devilish Boston Frankie, the most despised person in all of Southern California and the world of baseball.
And Dodger fans have reason to rejoice, even if the looting Boston Parking Lot Attendant walked away with over $750 million after taxes.

The Dodgers’ prospects for the upcoming season are the best in years, even though they did not acquire any big bats during the off season.  Matt Kemp and Clayton Kershaw are on board and the speed merchant Dee Gordon may threaten Maury Wills’ stolen base record and drive opposing pitchers to distraction.

The Boys in Blue also had a successful spring training, building on the team’s successes of last year after the All Star break when they were one game short of playing .600 ball. [Note: Arizona won the National League West with a .580 record.]

And most importantly, the new owners, led by hometown favorite Magic Johnson, have pledged to make the Dodgers one of the best teams in baseball, willing to increase the payroll so that the Dodgers can compete with the Yankees, Phillies, and Red Sox for top talent.

And do not be surprised if the Dodgers pick up a potent bat or two during the season.

But as we all know, there is no such thing as a free lunch, especially when Guggenheim Baseball Management, a limited partnership consisting primarily of wealthy out of town investors and large financial institutions, invested a record breaking $2 billion for a team that is barely profitable and suffered a major league drop in attendance.

And this $2 billion does not include another $150 million for a 50% interest in the surrounding real estate, an estimated $150 million to $300 million to renovate Dodger Stadium, or $150 million to fund an increased payroll over the next two seasons.

Underlying this $2.5 billion investment (equal to over eight times 2011 revenues) is the value of the team’s future media rights, estimated to be worth $4 billion over the next 20 years once the existing deal with Fox Sports expires at the end of the 2013 season.

At $200 million a year, that represents an increase of almost $160 million a year!

And, interestingly, pursuant to the Settlement Agreement between Major League Baseball and Boston Frankie, at least $84 million is required to be invested in the team, a clause designed to make sure that the new owners did not pull a “McCourt” and to insure that there is money subject to MLB’s revenue sharing formula.  

There has been considerable speculation about whether the Dodgers will sell the media rights to either Fox Sports or Time Warner Cable or whether the Dodgers will form their own regional sports network, similar to the Yankees and Red Sox.  

While the actual media rights deal has not been determined or negotiated, you can rest assured that we will end up footing the bill through higher fees for our basic cable service.  The Wall Street Journal estimated that a Dodgers network would net about $300 million a year if the network charged the cable companies $3.50 a month to a subscriber base of 7 million homes in an area that stretches to Las Vegas and the Central Coast.  

Interestingly, proceeds from regional sports networks are not subject to MLB’s revenue sharing rules.  And in the case of the Dodgers, their sports network would be able to capture all revenues over the $84 million requirement mandated in the Settlement Agreement.

Of course, we would be hit for about $700 million ($84 a year for each household) since our consumer friendly cable companies like to operate on 50% margins.  

In addition to the subscriber fees, a Dodger network would also benefit from significant advertising revenue from the Dodger games and other sports programming.  

Once again, the escalating cost of sports entertainment raises the issue of whether all of these sports channels, including ESPN which nets more than $4.50 per month per subscriber, should be bundled into our basic cable service, or, as many people have suggested, sold in a separate premium package.

The new owners will also have other opportunities to increase revenues, including the sacrilege of selling the naming rights to Dodger Stadium.  

There is also the ability to raise ticket prices, although that maneuver might be a very risky strategy that would definitely alienate Dodger fans. And who knows, fans may head to Anaheim to see Albert Pujols pulverize the ball at prices that are 40% lower than they are in Los Angeles.

There is also the possibility of developing the land around Dodger Stadium, a source of worry for the local residents who feel that their communities will be threaten by increased traffic and out of character overdevelopment.  And this fear is justifiable knowing that the litigious Boston Frankie owns 50% of the land surrounding Dodger Stadium.

On the other hand, Chicago based Mark Walter, the new “controlling partner” of the Dodgers who happens to have season tickets to the Cubs, has indicated that our boy Frank has only an economic interest in the land and will not be involved in the decision making process.  Of course, just having a litigious dirtball like McCourt as an investor is cause for great concern.

There are also many unanswered questions about the Dodgers and Guggenheim Baseball Management: who are their investors and how much debt will the Dodgers have to service.

But probably the most important question involves the exit strategy for these wealthy out of town investors and large financial institutions that will be looking for liquidity.  Or put another way, will the Dodgers be for sale in another five to ten years?  Or will the Dodgers be the subject of numerous debt fueled recapitalizations that are so popular with the private equity gang.  Or will the Dodgers have a public offering of stock?

Despite the financial implications of this off the charts transaction and the many questions that it raises, Dodger fans are excited.  All you have to do is look at front pages of The Los Angeles Times and its Sports section with bold across the sheet headlines and pictures of Magic Johnson.  And Opening Day is sold out and season ticket sales are up.

And if long time baseball executive Stan Kasten and his management team can deliver winning teams, attendance will soar, revenues will be plentiful, and the $84 a year in extra cable fees will be cheap at twice the price.  

Hopefully, we have been blessed. Hallelujah.

(Jack Humphreville writes LA Watchdog for CityWatch He is the President of the DWP Advocacy Committee and the Ratepayer Advocate for the Greater Wilshire Neighborhood Council. Humphreville is the publisher of the Recycler -- www.recycler.com. He can be reached at:   lajack@gmail.com) –cw

Tags: Jack Humphreville, LA Watchdog, Dodgers, Dodger sale, Magic Johnson






CityWatch
Vol 10 Issue 26
Pub: Mar 30, 2012

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