McCourt benefited from television values that rose sharply with Time Warner Cable's new deal with the Lakers — which some industry experts have pegged at $3 billion. There is also the potential of a lucrative deal developing the land around Dodger Stadium. And beyond that, numerous sports economists contacted by The Times see an element of good fortune in finding a group willing to spend so freely.
The other finalists offered no more than about $1.5 billion. Various estimates had the Johnson group overpaying by as much as 30%.
That money could have future ramifications.
"It's a zero-sum game, so if McCourt is walking away with $1 billion, someone's paying $1 billion," said Ganis, president of SportsCorp Ltd. "Los Angelenos are savvy enough to know they are going to have to pay it through higher ticket prices, higher concession prices and higher cable TV bills."
That might seem like rubbing salt in the wound for fans who watched the team miss the playoffs the last two seasons. But Zimbalist said they should be happy about the deal — no matter how it came about — for one reason.
"The good news is that Frank McCourt is gone," he said. "He's not going to run the Dodgers anymore."