Take me out to the boardroom (Fortune, 1997) – Fortune Features
Good or bad, it is revolutionizing the economics of professional sports. Once the sale of the Dodgers is approved by baseball owners — and they will approve it, despite Murdoch’s running feud with Ted Turner — News Corp. (NWS) will become one of 52 public companies owning at least a slice of the 113 Major League Baseball, National Basketball Association, or National Hockey League franchises (the NFL doesn’t allow corporations to own teams, at least for now). Once a playground for the rich, pro sports is swiftly becoming a company picnic. “Almost total corporate ownership is an inevitability,” says Leigh Steinberg, the influential agent. “It’s a trend that can be delayed but not reversed. Leagues can resist it. They can create rules trying to discourage it, but ultimately the nature of the sports-entertainment matrix will demand it.”
Murdoch, in fact, is staking claims on the sports landscape as if he were in the Oklahoma Land Rush.