Category Archives: finances

McCourts embarrassed further in divorce court

Or rather, maybe just Frank, since Jamie’s been fired.

This comes from Bill Shaikin:

The Dodgers could seek to keep their player payroll below last year’s level through 2018 while the average ticket price and club revenue could nearly double, according to confidential financial documents included in a court filing last week.

The documents, submitted by former Dodgers chief executive Jamie McCourt in divorce proceedings against owner Frank McCourt, offer a rare glimpse into the finances of a major league club.

The documents — prepared by the McCourt management team in May to solicit Chinese investors for a partnership that could have included the Dodgers, a soccer club in Beijing and another in the English Premier League — show that the Dodgers spent $128 million in player compensation for their 40-man roster in 2007, then spent $123 million in 2008.

They spent $132 million last season, according to figures from the commissioner’s office, which included in its accounting deferred payments to Manny Ramirez and Andruw Jones.

The projections show the Dodgers planning to cut it to $107 million this year, with slight annual increases thereafter. In 2018, player compensation is estimated at $125 million.

The document anticipates a significant rise in club revenue, from $295 million in 2008 to $529 million in 2018, and in the average ticket price, from $29.40 in 2007 to $53.50 in 2018.

That bolding and italicized emphasis are mine.  That is an enormous jump.  A couple people put this in perspective, namely baseball musing’s post said it would be illegal for the team to raise ticket prices without winning and it’s very hard to win while lowering the payroll.

Dodger Thoughts blogger Jon Weisman said something even smarter:

The documents, Shaikin writes, were “prepared by the McCourt management team in May to solicit Chinese investors for a partnership that could have included the Dodgers, a soccer club in Beijing and another in the English Premier League.” They’re designed to make the Dodgers’ profiteering, if you will, look as glowing as possible. It doesn’t seem to me that the scenario they describe is any more realistic than one that suggests the Dodgers have cheap ticket prices and top-of-the-line payroll. The truth is somewhere in between.

Again, emphasis is mine.

This divorce has been a roiling, tumultuous mess since it kicked off this off-season, when it was announced Jamie McCourt had been having an affair with an employee. Then payroll was frozen, the team was unable to even offer arbitration to a handful of players who were knowingly going to turn it down and no above-average free agent signings were made.  Meanwhile, Jamie came out with knives drawn in the first court hearings–holy moly was she gunning for embarrassing him at the start of this–and here we are today.  The proceedings are only gonna get worse and the problems may not hurt the Dodgers now, while they’re getting yearly shots at the playoffs, but in 2011-2014, when the team won’t have any farm talent stocked because they couldn’t shell out for the money to draft players.

I’m a Dodger season ticket holder.  I went to my first game in those seats when I was six days old and I’ve seen a lot happen in that time–and a lot of failure. I’ve been critical of the McCourts before, but they’ve done a lot more good for the franchise than bad and they’re a very big reason for why the team has seen so much success in the past five years.

As much as I appreciate what Mr. and the former Mrs. McCourt have done to turn this team around from the polished turd it was, I think it’d be in everyone’s best interest–the McCourt family’s, the fans’, the team’s and even the franchise’s itself–if the team were sold as quickly as possible and this page in the Dodgers’ history book was turned.

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