I am European, so I am not a huge fan of American sports – partially because my mind doesn’t comprehend that someone else might actually own the team I root for. Having my heart broken because some dingbat decides to get divorced or move my favorite team seems horrifying. I am too sensitive for that.
Out of all the American sports teams, I pick the Dodgers (and the Blazers) to like. I don’t really love LA or baseball for that matter, but the color reminds me of my real love Schalke04. Come to think of it, I think teenage girls pick their favorite sports teams by color as well.
Frank McCourt just sold the Dodgers for $2 billion dollars. That’s a good chunk of money for some people, of which he’ll stand a good chance of keeping quite a bit – even after paying off his crazy ex-wife, his hairdresser and the guy in New York sending positive thoughts westwards.
Since I am all about helping entrepreneurs, I figure it’s important to document some of the business lessons that come out of this – most notably how to sell your business for a bunch of money.
#1 If you decide to buy a business, never ever use your own money
Frank McCourt bought the Dodgers mostly with money loaned against his parking lot in Boston. So worst case (and he tried pretty hard to make that happen), all he had to lose was a parking lot in Boston. The number one rule for selling your business for a crapload of money is that it’s going to feel a whole lot better when you never used a dime of your own money buying it.
#2 Make horrendous mistakes that will get and keep you in the news
The Dodgers are an important part of the LA community. Everybody
knows that. And nobody capitalized on that more than Frank McCourt. The guy made more horrendous (and newsworthy) mistakes than just any other “so called” business person in the history of business. The net result – every reporter in the country writing about how important the Dodgers are to LA and baseball. Frank McCourt took the saying “any PR is good PR” and turned it into a now proven business model.
#3 When you are running out of horrendous mistakes, make it personal.
There are only so many things you can do wrong as a business owner. In the case of baseball, we’re talking about signing and overpaying bad players, not signigng good players, making your stadium an unsafe place to go and paying some dude in the East six figures to send positive thoughts to your team from afar. Frank McCourt wrote the book on horrendous business mistakes. But at some point, you’re going to run out of business mistakes to make. When that happens, you need to start doing and publicizing some horrendous things in your personal life. Relevant examples are: taking money out of your business to use for personal reasons, using that money to buy a bunch of houses you can’t really afford and then getting your wife to divorce you. If you’re going to choose the strategy of ruining your marriage for fun and profit, it certainly helps to have a partner who isn’t afraid of saying or doing stupid things. Relevant examples include having a business plan steered towards him/her becoming the next president of the United States, having an affair with your bodyguard or getting your hair cut every day.