Right Field

Is the Pro-Sports Bubble About to Burst?

A report on MLB commissioner Bud Selig’s decision to take over the day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers:

Joe Torre, who retired as manager of the Dodgers last fall, said Thursday he hopes Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig’s decision to take over the team from embattled owner Frank McCourt produces a healthier franchise.

“It’s obvious the organization needed to be tended to, paid attention to, and I know it wasn’t easy for the commissioner to come up with the decision that he did,” Torre said.

McCourt had already burdened the franchise with more than $457 million of debt, according to a lawyer familiar with the Dodgers’ finances, and he was having trouble securing more loans to meet the team’s expenses.

Baseball officials were said to be worried that money coming in from a potential front-loaded TV deal with Fox would be redirected to McCourt and not used for the team. Dodgers Vice Chairman Steve Soboroff, hired Tuesday, said baseball’s concerns were unjustified and Selig’s decision “irresponsible.”

The rest here.

I do wonder how many other pro teams are in a similar situation to the Dodgers. The Dodgers have an advantage that they consistently draw fans, but there are many teams around the pro leagues that struggle to put fans in the seats every night. You can’t put more debt on these teams if ticket, food and media revenues are maxed out.

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