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New owners open their reign by cutting parking price

The Sports Xchange

The Dodgers' new owners aren't apologizing for the record $2 billion they spent to acquire the franchise.

New Dodgers CEO Mark Walter, heading up Guggenheim Baseball Partners, said the market helped set the price, and that it was an opportunity he couldn't pass up.

"I viewed it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own the most fantastic franchise in all of sports," Water said during a Dodger Stadium press conference introducing the new management.

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa was on hand as well, offering a simple plan for the new stewards of the Dodgers.

"I have just one piece of advice. Win. A lot," Villaraigosa said before the Dodgers lost 8-5 at Colorado.

Walter's group got off to a fan-friendly start by announcing that regular parking at Dodger Stadium would be reduced immediately from $15 to $10.

Much of the questioning during the press conference revolved around former owner Frank McCourt and his continuing role and involvement in the land surrounding the stadium. However, the new owners were clear that they were in control.

"Every aspect of the operation at Chavez Ravine that relates to baseball, parking and everything, is controlled and managed by us, and all of those revenues go to this organization," Walter said. "The former ownership does have an economic interest in a certain amount of the profits that might come from potential development in the future."

The ownership group said it has no plans to develop the land surrounding the stadium, but also said it didn't know what the future will hold.

"We own it 100 percent. He doesn't get a dime from the parking," partner Magic Johnson said of McCourt. "If he's a part of future development, so what? What's important is that there's new owners sitting here. There's new direction, there's a new era, and we're moving this franchise forward."

Broadcaster Vin Scully, who has been calling Dodgers games since 1950, has been around for numerous ownership changes, but as the master of ceremonies of the introductory press conference, the 84-year-old Hall of Famer offered this friendly warning to the new owners.

"I am telling each and every one of you right now. This is the last new ownership press conference I will ever attend," Scully said.

Copyright (C) 2012 The Sports Xchange. All Rights Reserved.


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