Define irony. Irony is Bruce Springsteen building his career singing about society’s elite class ignoring the less fortunate yet making it that the only people who can afford to see him in concert are in the same elitists he rails against. That is one definition. But the Los Angeles Dodgers may be adding a new definition to the next dictionary.
As it turns out, per a Los Angeles Times story, team owner Frank McCourt, one of the least popular figures in Los Angeles sports history, may be forced to sell the team but he may always retain a huge, revenue-producing chunk of it. Say what??
Well, in the world of real estate, it is possible for one to own land separately from the structures that sit on it. For example, supposedly, media magnate Rupert Murdoch, or at least one of his corporate subsidiaries, owns 20th Century Fox studios in West Los Angeles. Yet the land it sits on is owned by another Murdoch subsidiary. Call it robbing Peter to pay Paul. In essence, Murdoch could sell the studio to a completely different company yet still own the land it is sitting on. Apparently, the same is true with the Dodger Stadium parking lot.
When McCourt and his now-ex-wife Jamie purchased the team in 2004,the lot became part of a subsidiary separate from the one which McCourt placed the team and stadium under. Since the parking lot subsidiary is not part the Dodgers bankrupty, McCourt can retain it and continue to make money from it. He can also develop on it as he once planned to do.
A short time into the McCourt’s ownership tenure, they announced a grandiose plan to turn parts of the lot into a retail shopping district. The idea was to turn Dodger Stadium into something like the LA Live complex that surrounds the Staples center, home to the NBA Lakers and Clippers. LA Live includes restaurants, hotels, and a movie complex. It revitalized downtown as it turned attending a concert or sporting event into an all day affair. As if baseball games aren’t long enough, McCourt wanted to turn a game into an event that might include a pre-game dinner and post-game drinks. Alas, his mismanagement of the team derailed those plans pretty quickly. For a glimpse of the illusion he created for about 15 minutes, click HERE.
Naturally, Dodgers fans want McCourt to do only one thing with the parking lot – sell it to whoever buys the team this spring. If not, Dodgers fans may always have to reluctantly give McCourt a piece of the action. Sadly, the city and previous team owners have never worked out a plan to create convenient mass transit to and from the stadium. Currently, there is a bus that goes between the main train station, Union Station, and the stadium on game days but outside of that, fans are pretty much forced to fight for spaces.
To make matters worse, or maybe better considering Dodgers fans would love to see the stadium get up to speed with the newer, “hipper” venues that are surrounded by nightlife, is that McCourt’s previous development fraud is seeing a new burst of life. He knows a new owner will work hard to once again fill the stadium McCourt found so easy to empty out. After he sells the team, old Frank may have an extra billion or two which he can use to open a Starbucks in the middle of parking lot L.
McCourt still acting like a vampire is as sick of one of those stories where a burglar can sue the homeowner that shot him while he was trying to rob the place.
Man, no matter how you define it, irony sure is a bitch.