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Why did L.A. Dodgers go for staggering $2.15 billion?

Published: Thursday, March 29 2012 3:01 p.m. MDT

FILE - In this file photo taken April 20, 2011, Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles is empty several hours before a baseball game between the Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt announced an agreement Tuesday, March 27, 2012, to sell the bankrupt team for $2 billion to a group that includes former Lakers star Magic Johnson and former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals President Stan Kasten.

Nick Ut, File, AP Photos

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The sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers finalized this week. The price — initially reported as $2 billion — turned out to actually be $2.15 billion.

To put that figure in perspective, consider these numbers:

  • $371 million: price paid in 2004 for the Dodgers, the last time the team was sold.
  • $634.3 million: average sale price of the last three baseball teams (Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros, Texas Rangers) to change hands prior to Tuesday, in transactions that occurred one to three years ago.
  • $1.1 billion: what Stephen Ross paid for the Miami Dolphins in 2009, the previous record for the biggest sale price of a North American professional sports franchise.
If you're wondering why the value of pro sports franchises is spiraling ever higher, here's the reason: It's all about the skyrocketing contracts owners are able to extract for TV broadcasting rights.

"Television money for live sports is skyrocketing, and it’s driving up the values of sports teams in the United States and around the globe," Brian Solomon wrote Thursday for Forbes.com. "Each successive franchise sold goes for more than the last."

Speaking to how much TV money the Dodgers could net moving forward, Steve Lopez blogged Thursday for the L.A. Times, "By some estimates, the new owners can expect to sign a TV rights deal worth roughly $3.5 billion over 20 years. … It could be that this purchase has more to do with television sports marketing and financing, in fact, than a baseball team."