Question: It's been reported that the Dodgers were losing as much as $30 million a year when you and your husband bought them. How do you plan to return the team to profitability ?
Answer: The first thing we did was create a different broadcast structure. We've created a very arm's-length deal with Fox. It's about creating a broadcast deal that's the right (financial) place to be.
Q: When do you expect to stop running in the red?
A: Hopefully by the end of next year, we'll break even. I feel great about that. That statement speaks for itself. At the end of day, we'll always have a high payroll team. I don't think it's about (payroll) flexibility. Whatever that takes (to win), that's what we are going to try to do.
Q: You are the vice chairwoman. What does that involve?
A: There are so many different pieces to this business. There is the business of baseball and then the business of everything else ticketing, merchandising, concessions, parking and then there's community relations, the finance department and the legal department. In the beginning, our job was to find the best people to run these things.
Q: What are the challenges to that?
A: This is a business culture where it is easy to be in silos. So you have to really make sure people talk to one another. I run all of the weekly management meetings to make sure that top management is up to speed with what we're doing on all sides of the business. I'm essentially responsible for much of the communication now between the groups. It's very important that everyone is speaking to each other. There isn't a thing that goes on here that I don't know about. Having said that, we believe firmly in letting everybody run their part of the business.
Q: Can you name some tangible examples of your input?
A: I'm part of the process of deciding if (a promotion) is something that works for fans we want to attract to the stadium. Often times, there are sponsors who want to give you a lot of dollars and you have to say, If we're about promoting the family experience at Dodger Stadium, does this speak to the experience that we want to try to bring to our fans?
Q: What do you think of the Angels changing their name to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim?
A: I don't think that any owner should leverage against a place just for marketing or financial opportunity. I really believe there is one team in L.A. the Dodgers and Dodger fans know it. To that extent, I don't think it matters. But I'm a little bit more of a traditionalist. I do think it's bizarre to put two city names in a name. It's the only (team) that has it. That's bothersome to me.
Q: Have you asked Major League Baseball to step in?
A: I think the commissioner would never want to be involved with something that involves a fight with the city. I'm sure he's dismayed that there is an issue between Anaheim and the Angels. I don't think we have to do anything until Anaheim, as a city, completes its legal proceedings with the team.
Q: Have you encountered any sexism since you joined the Dodgers?
A: It's like any other business. You meet people who are (less) accepting of women in their particular field. Once you establish yourself as knowing your field, people forget that they've labeled you one way or the other. Why waste time thinking about whether somebody's happy with what you are?
Q: So how does it feel to be the highest-ranking female executive in baseball?
A: Honored. I feel like it comes with a responsibility to bring more women into the game the broad perspective of the game. That doesn't mean they need to have a career or love the stats. The greatest thing about the game is that it allows people to be together and time is our most valuable commodity. Women have a lot of purchasing power and they make decisions about where families spend time.
Q: The Dodgers consistently draw well over 3 million fans each season, but you have maintained the team should be hitting the 4 million mark.
A: For all the individualism and diversity that's here, (the team) is one of the common traditions that people can share. It crosses all the boundaries of economics, race, age, you name it. I feel like we need to reach out to everyone and let them know how much we really want them here.
Q: What's your view about the media criticism surrounding the team's makeover this season?
A: We have total faith in Paul (DePodesta.) He's a fantastic general manager and incredibly smart about a lot of things, not just baseball. There are a lot of chemistry issues and other issues and he is sensitive to that and shares our view about that. In terms of a general philosophy, we are really interested in building a winner every year, not just for the short term. The trades that happened (last year) enabled us to go deeper into the season and reach the playoffs. The off-season moves will create a fantastic team. Hopefully, they'll gel in the clubhouse and bring that chemistry.
Q: When you lost Adrian Beltre, there was a period when fans thought the team was on a downslide?
A: We would have loved to have Adrian Beltre. For starters, he really grew up through the system so the Dodgers can really claim him as one of theirs. Secondly, he's a great player. Thirdly, Paul DePodesta did everything he could to keep him. This was ultimately Adrian's decision along with his agent.
Q: How do the media affect how the fans view you and the team?
A: When the fans finally get to talk to us and see how passionate and committed we are, they are really happy about that. We've spent a lot of time to put a good team on the field (and) fix the business. That's the first priority. But I think we need to do a much better job bringing the fans along and staying connected with them.
Q: What were you like growing up in Baltimore?
A: I was a baseball fan, tomboy and player. I used to go to the games with my dad. We used to keep scorecards. If you can believe this, I used to make him follow every single pitch. I actually used to drag him to the games.
Q: You're from Boston and made a run at buying the Red Sox. So what was your rationale for going after the Dodgers?
A: My mother loves to tell the story about when I was 9 years old and I told her I wanted to own a baseball team. Frank's grandfather owned a piece of the Boston (now Atlanta) Braves, so it was in his blood as well. We would never do this without our whole family being happy about the decision, because it's a really close family. What few people know is that we sent our two oldest boys Drew was 21, Travis was 20 to Southern California in the summer of 2003 before we decided to make a run for the Dodgers, and said to them, "See if you could imagine living here." They met a lot of people in a lot of different professions. They came back with a huge Rolodex, a power point presentation, a suntan, and an absolute, "Yes, we could live here."
Q: When the deal was announced last year, Frank said there was an interest in bringing in a local equity partner. What's the status of that?
A: I can't talk about an equity partner.
Q: Can you talk any more about the terms of the deal?
A: I can't, other than Frank put $250 million of his equity toward the purchase price. Nobody seems to be paying attention to that. In the history of baseball, nobody's put more equity toward a team. But that's (all) I want to say.
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