LOS ANGELES (CBS) — The new ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday promised a fan-friendly, accessible and winning organization and announced an immediate $5 reduction in the $15 parking price.
New team president Stan Kasten also announced the establishment of an email address for fans to send suggestions — firstname.lastname@example.org — along with “a lot more opportunities for autographs.”
The record $2 billion purchase of the team by Guggenheim Baseball Management from reviled former owner Frank McCourt became official on Tuesday.
When the sale was announced March 27, it was also announced that McCourt and certain affiliates of the purchasers would also be forming a joint venture which will acquire land surrounding Dodger Stadium for an additional $150 million.
However, former basketball star Magic Johnson and other members of the group stressed today at a news conference in center field at Dodger Stadium that McCourt “won’t get a dime from the parking” or anything else.
“We own it 100 percent,” Johnson said.
McCourt would get a share of profits from any possible future developments on the land, said Mark Walter, the group’s controlling partner.
The group acquired a team whose sterling reputation on and off the field under the ownership of the O’Malley family from 1950-1997 suffered first under its ownership of the News Corp. from 1997-2004 and then with McCourt.
The Dodgers’ 23 consecutive seasons without a pennant is the longest streak in the history of the team, which began play in the National League in 1890 as the Brooklyn Bridegrooms. Their attendance of 2,934,808 in 2011 was their lowest for a non-strike season since 1992.
Johnson, when introducing former owner Peter O’Malley, noted how he “took pride in the Dodgers” and said what the group wants to do “is bring that pride back to this city and organization.”
“We want to win on the field, we want the fans to have the best fan experience they’ve ever had and we want to make sure it’s fan-friendly and it’s safe,” Johnson said.
Kasten pledged to be on the Dodger Stadium’s concourses every night “to talk to fans, to understand what they like, what they don’t like.”
Dodger Stadium, which opened in 1962, “needs some TLC,” he said.
“The first things are the back of the house things that we are already turning our attention to — power, water, information systems,” Kasten said.
“We also believe that we can introduce enhancements to keep those things our fans treasure about this ballpark, but bring the experience into the 21st century. We’re committed to doing those things and we already have people coming in to help us to work with that.”
Walter said, “We are passionate about making this organization the best that it can be in every respect — from winning, from its relationship to the community and to all the philanthropic and other things it can be a platform to help with.”
“We know that this going to be hard work,” said Walter, chief executive officer of Guggenheim Capital, LLC. “We also know it’s going to take time.”
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