First off, let’s set the headlines straight: Magic Johnson is not buying the Los Angeles Dodgers. Rather, a group of businessmen, including investment services firm Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter, longtime baseball exec Stan Kasten, and, yes, Johnson, have agreed to plunk down $2 billion to buy the Dodgers and Dodger Stadium out of current owner Frank McCourt’s bankruptcy proceedings.
Aside from the issue of why the Dodgers are suddenly worth $2 billion — something that Forbes magazine, which had the franchise valued at $1.4 billion, neatly avoided discussing, though it did give some clues in its recent article on soaring TV rights fees (hint: sports are the one remaining thing people will pay to watch live) — the immediate question here is what this will mean for Dodger Stadium, which has been the subject of various renovation and replacement rumors over the past few years. McCourt will still own much of the surrounding parking lots, which would seem to rule out the kind of major area redevelopment that he’d talked about a while back. Likewise, the notion of building a new baseball stadium downtown and putting a football stadium at Chavez Ravine probably won’t be happening given that AEG isn’t involved in the purchase (not that AEG’s football plans are exactly going anywhere at the moment, anyway).
That leaves … Orel Hershiser’s drawings? We’ll probably hear more from the Guggenheim group eventually, but you have to figure their first priority is rebuilding the team on the field and fan support, both of which were left in a shambles by the McCourt years. The fate of baseball’s third-oldest surviving stadium will have to wait a bit.