Santa Cruz Indymedia :
Santa Cruz Indymedia

Commentary :: Alternative Media

Do Multinational Media Corporations control the sports world?

Although I realize that this story does not pertain to most citizens of Santa Cruz (being that most of them are San Francisco Giant Fans), I believe it to be an interesting point in the all consuming nature of multimedia corporations.

In Baseball you are only as good as last season, judged only on the basis if you were holding a trophy over your head in October. Unfortunately, the innocence of the sport was lost long ago with the advent of the free agent and the rest of the national pastime is about to follow. Curious to make a profit of anything and everything News Corp. owned by Rupert Murdoch purchased the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1998 from the O’Malley family for the sum of 300 million dollars. Not only did Murdoch have the rights to my precious Dodgers, but he also owned Dodger stadium, the broadcast rights, as well as the final say in personal, be it in the clubhouse or on the field. Ever since that awful day, the Dodgers haven’t even come close to the playoffs and instead wallow in mediocrity while the hated Giants moved into a beautiful new stadium and are perennial contenders for the World Series. Flash Forward to 2003 and the Dodgers are still losing but now so is Murdoch. It was reported that the Dodgers had operating losses of up to 50 million dollars a year following News Corp.’s purchase. So being the savvy business that Murdoch is, he decided to sell my favorite team, disappointed not because he didn’t win a World Series trophy, buy only because the team failed to turn a profit. Turned down by his attempt to buy the Boston Red Sox earlier in the year, Frank McCourt saw this as a chance to own a cherished and legitimate sports franchise. McCourt used his prime Boston area real estate to leverage the deal, but as many sources have pointed out, this fell well short of News Corp. $430 million asking price. Still hell-bent on acquiring a sports franchise, McCourt looked to loans to reach the sale price. Interestingly enough, he turned to the same group that was selling the Los Angeles Dodgers, News Corp. It was reported in various Los Angeles based newspapers (LA Times, Los Angeles Daily News) that Murdoch was to loan almost 50% of the $430 million to McCourt in order to get the deal done. However, this brings up several interesting questions on this so-called business transaction. Are we to believe then that when McCourt owns the team that News Corp., still technically a 50% shareholder, would have no say in the operation of the team? Is McCourt a patsy, only there to take the blame for slashing payroll and putting a little league team on the field where legends such as Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, and Jackie Robinson used to play? I believe that baseball fans everywhere should boycott this joke of a team. We need to get across that pride is at stake with our national pastime. The Los Angeles Dodgers should be more than a business transaction; they should be a real team.

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