McCourt interested in L.A. Marathon

August 27, 2008|Greg Johnson | Times Staff Writer

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt has agreed to provide financial backing to a new Los Angeles company that hopes to buy operating rights to the Los Angeles Marathon from its Chicago owner.

Financial terms of the proposed deal were not released Tuesday, but in a statement, McCourt said that he is interested in investing "so long as necessary terms can be worked out with Devine Racing Management's affiliated entities and the City of Los Angeles."

McCourt is pursuing the deal independent of his baseball holdings.

Chris Devine, the Chicago businessman who purchased rights to the L.A. Marathon in 2004, announced the planned sale in June. His Devine Racing Management has struggled with race-related finances, and Devine said the sale proceeds would be used to cover his company's outstanding financial obligations and allow it to continue operating a marathon in Las Vegas.

Devine declined to discuss terms of a sale, , but confirmed that he hopes to complete the deal by mid-September.

McCourt described the race that is scheduled to run its 24th edition on March 1, 2009, as "an important civic asset that has the potential to have an even greater positive impact on the city of Los Angeles. Because of its great potential, I am evaluating the opportunity along with Going the Distance," which is the name of the company that was created to buy rights to the race.

McCourt, who stays physically active but doesn't run marathons, would become the majority owner of Going the Distance, a company created by local businessmen Russ Pillar and David Kingsdale.

Any deal must be cleared by the City of Los Angeles, which owns the Los Angeles Marathon name and logo and plays an integral role on race day.

Pillar said that Bill Burke and Marie Patrick, the race operators whose names are synonymous with the marathon, would not stay on if the deal closes as planned.


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