Home MLB Ongoing sale of Dodgers produces two interesting football links

Ongoing sale of Dodgers produces two interesting football links

by Matt Smith

An article has been published today on the BaseballProspectus website about the ongoing sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers that adds a couple of interesting football links to the process, neither of which being the football link that is the main focus of the piece (football in the American sense in respect of the St. Louis Rams).

The first football (as in association football) link is that Stan Kroenke is named as one of the finalists in the bidding process for the Dodgers. 

Kroenke has a finger in many sports-organization shaped pies, but the main one concerning British sports fans is his majority shareholding in Arsenal.  He started buying shares in the club in 2007 and has gradually gained more and more control during a share-buying battle with the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov. Kroenke has been able to win over the Arsenal board members and became the majority shareholder last year.  

So far, his arrival hasn’t resulted in manager Arsene Wenger moving away from his cautious spending policy. It’s difficult to know for sure whether that’s due to a lack of available funds or Wenger simply wanting the club to live within their means on a sensible budget.  However, there would clearly be a measure of concern among Arsenal fans that Kroenke’s resources, potentially even his shareholding, could be reduced if his ownership bid for the Dodgers proves successful. 

The odds of that happening appear to be relatively modest. By all accounts, there are plenty of obstacles for Kroenke to negotiate if he is to become the new owner of the Dodgers and he appears to be an outsider.

What really caught my eye in Maury Brown’s article however was the section about a previous ownership candidate who missed out on acquiring the team.

While Dodgers fans – and other MLB fans paying closer attention to the situation – probably already knew this, I wasn’t aware that when McCourt bought the Dodgers in 2004, Malcolm Glazer, arguably the most detested man on the red side of Manchester, was actually the then-owner FOX’s preferred candidate.

As Brown explains:

That deal bumped into two problems: 1) MLB vets closely who the controlling interest is when the majority owner resides outside the home territory, as well as how the baseball operations background of the group is constructed, and MLB was uncomfortable with Glazer’s son running the Dodgers, and 2) The NFL quashed the deal when Glazer was attempting to finalize the financing by leveraging the [Tampa Bay] Buccaneers.

Two points immediately spring to mind in light of this.

Firstly, many football fans would prefer the Premier League and Football League to take such a methodical and wise approach when it comes to approving new owners.  Admittedly the fact that football isn’t a closed shop competition composed of franchises makes this more difficult, but it wouldn’t take much effort to improve upon the current ‘fit and proper person’ test.

Secondly, after being tied to FOX Entertainment Group, dodging a bullet with the Glazers and then suffering plenty of self-inflicted gunshot wounds to their feet by the McCourts, it’s about time that the Dodgers had some better luck with their owners. Hopefully this current sale will result in the team finally getting an ownership group that befits their status as one of the most historic and iconic sports organizations in the world.

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