Magic Johnson is no longer the most recognizable Laker on the planet. Kobe Bryant is, so Magic felt he needs to expand into other sports, heading a group, mostly by name and face probably, taking the Los Angeles Dodgers out of the hands of Frank McCourt, for $2 Billion.
This isn’t only the biggest Baseball franchise deal in history. It also made the Dodgers, who haven’t won a World Series since 1988, the most expensive franchise purchase in all of sports, eclipsing Manchester United being bought by the Glazer Family a few years ago.
Number 10 – Houston Astros, $610 Million
Jim Crane, a Houston-based businessman, bought the Houston Astros from Drayton McLane in 2011, after McLane owned the team for 18 years. Crane, agreeing to move the Astros to the American League after the 2012 season, got a $70 million concession from the league for his approval.
The Astros finished at a franchise worst 56-106 in 2011. It might get worse in 2012. Although Crane made a few fan friendly moves once taking over the ball club, which included lowering the ticket prices and allowing food and water into the stadium, his proposal to change the team’s name was quickly turned down due to the uproar from the fans.
Number 9 – New York Jets, $635 Million
Woody Johnson outbid Charles F. Dolan by more than $20 million to get the Jets, going for a price 20% higher than what analysts believed the Jets would go for. Since taking over the team, the Jets have made it into the postseason five times, a record for the Jets in the span of a decade. He also orchestrated the move to the new stadium, again shared with the Giants.
Number 7 (shard) – Chicago Cubs, $700 Million
The Ricketts family, or the family trust of Joe Ricketts, purchased the lovable losers for $700 million in 2009. Joe Ricketts isn’t involved in the running of them, but his children, with Tom acting as CEO and three other children on the board of directors. The Cubs haven’t made the postseason since the takeover.
Number 7 (shared) – Houston Texans, $700 Million
It took Bob McNair14 years to turn the Houston Texans into the best NFL team in the state, but he isn’t satisfied with just a postseason appearance and a postseason win. Winning the NFL title is the next step. McNair formed the the Houston NFL Holdings in 1998. A year later the NFL announced on the Texans becoming the 32nd NFL franchise, making their debut in 2002.
Number 6 – St. Louis Rams, $750 Million
A professional sports mogul, Kroenke, who earned money on his own and through marriage to the Wal-Mart heir, was already the owner of the Denver Nuggets, Denver Broncos and Colorado Avalanche and Arsenal in England when he became the main man for the Rams. He didn’t sell his holdings, he just moved them to his son. Convenient.
Number 5 – Washington Redskins, $750 Million
Daniel Snyder and Dwight Shcar purchased the Redskins in 1999 for $750 million, mostly gained through big-time loans. Snyder hasn’t made the Redskins a success on the field, as the team has a losing record since he took over, but they have become a juggernaut financially, many seasons generating more revenue than any other team in the NFL, mostly thanks to the FedEx deal on the stadium name.
Number 4 – Jacksonville Jaguars, $770 Million
On January 4, 2012, Shahid Khan became the first member of an ethnic minority to own an NFL team, purchasing the failing Jags from Wayne Weaver for $770 million. Khan has so far squashed any rumors linking the franchise to an anticipated LA Move.
Number 3 – Miami Dolphins, $1.1 Billion
Ross was born in Michigan and lives in New York, but slowly took over the Miami Dolphins and the Sun Life stadium over the course of 2008, eventually owning 95% of the team after bringing in a bunch of Miami-based celebs to own the other 5%.
Number 2 – Manchester United, $1.47 Billion
The Glazer family, who also own the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, are somewhat of a persona non-grata at the Old Trafford. Why? A number of reasons, with the Glazers being American a big part of it. Although today it doesn’t really matter, as it seems all of the Premier League is being purchased by foreign owners.
The Glazers taking on a huge debt to purchase the club, securing half of it against the club assets is the main reason. Why? Because to finance their deal, the Glazers take money from the fans, who will effectively be paying for someone to borrow money to own their club.
Number 1 – Los Angeles Dodgers, $2 Billion
Magic Johnson, along with the Guggenheim Group and Stan Kasten ended the Frank McCourt saga in LA, buying the facing bankruptcy organizations, which was actually taken out of McCourt’s operation by the MLB commissioner last season, and the lands surrounding it for $2 Billion.