Frank H. McCourt Jr.
August 14, 1953
|Alma mater||Georgetown University|
|Occupation||Chairman of McCourt LP|
Chairman & CEO of McCourt Global
Founder & CEO of Unfinished
Owner of Olympique de Marseille
Former owner of Miami Celtics
Former owner of Global Champions Tour
Former owner of Los Angeles Marathon
Former owner of Los Angeles Dodgers
(m. 1979; div. 2011)
Frank H. McCourt Jr. (born August 14, 1953) is an American civic entrepreneur, chairman of McCourt LP, chairman and CEO of McCourt Global, current owner of the football club Olympique de Marseille, and founder and CEO of Unfinished. He was the owner and chairman of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Dodger Stadium from 2004 to 2012.
In 2004, he purchased a controlling interest in the Dodgers from Fox Entertainment Group, owned by Rupert Murdoch's News Corporation. Prior to purchasing the Dodgers and moving to Los Angeles, McCourt was a Boston real estate developer, whose family resided in Brookline, Massachusetts.
In 2013, he donated $100 million to establish the McCourt School of Public Policy, the ninth school of Georgetown University. He made a second $100 million gift to Georgetown University in March 2021, for the express purpose of ensuring that "the McCourt School can open its doors more widely and build a pipeline of future public policy leaders that reflects the true diversity of our communities."
In 2016, he purchased French Ligue 1 football club Olympique de Marseille from Russian-born billionaire Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. The takeover was completed in August after months of negotiations.
McCourt was born in Boston, Massachusetts. He was raised as a Catholic and attended Georgetown University, where he earned an economics degree in 1975. He met his future wife, Jamie Luskin, when they were both freshmen at Georgetown. They married in 1979. The McCourt family has a long association with real estate and construction in the Boston area.
In 1977, McCourt founded The McCourt Company, which specializes in the development of major commercial real estate projects, particularly parking lots.
In the late 1970s McCourt acquired 24 acres (97,000 m2) in South Boston from the bankrupt Penn Central railroad and developed the L-shaped property into parking lots.
The McCourt company headquarters moved to Los Angeles in 2004 in connection with the family relocating to Los Angeles. The McCourts owned a $16 million, 13,000 sq ft (1,200 m2) home in Brookline, Massachusetts, that was acquired by John W. Henry, owner of the Boston Red Sox.
Before buying the Los Angeles Dodgers, McCourt made a bid to buy the Boston Red Sox planning to build a new stadium on the land he owned and used for parking lots on the South Boston waterfront. Instead, the Red Sox were sold in 2002 to John W. Henry, Tom Werner and Red Sox President Larry Lucchino.
In 2004, McCourt bought the Los Angeles Dodgers for US$430 million from NewsCorp, Rupert Murdoch's flagship enterprise. McCourt's purchase of the Dodgers was financed mostly by debt.
In 2004 McCourt's South Boston parking lot property was used as collateral for some of the financing to acquire the Dodgers from NewsCorp. Later the South Boston property was turned over to NewsCorp in exchange for canceling acquisition debt. NewsCorp received approximately $200 million when they re-sold the property to Morgan Stanley and Boston real estate investor John B. Hynes III in 2006.
The Dodgers assets acquired by McCourt included significant real estate assets related to the stadium in Chavez Ravine, including stadium parking lot land. Plans were announced for new real estate developments at Dodger Stadium however those plans never came to fruition. One discussed plan was for an NFL stadium and adjacent retail complex. However after the Boston Herald reported the details of the plan, political pressure forced both the NFL and McCourt to deny that either party was aggressively pursuing the idea.
To offset the purchase, McCourt raised ticket and concession prices every year. By April 2009 the team and its related assets, in which McCourt had invested heavily in improvements, had increased in value to $722 million according to Forbes.   In 2010 the value of the team was estimated at $727 million according to Forbes.
McCourt is not the first member of this family to own part or whole of a sports franchise. His grandfather was part-owner of the Boston Braves.
In 2003 (under NewsCorp ownership) the Dodgers' record was 85 wins, 77 losses. Shortly after purchasing the team, McCourt fired then General Manager Dan Evans, replacing him with Paul DePodesta. DePodesta is featured (along with Billy Beane) in the book Moneyball as it discussed their sabermetric-based approach to using statistics to build the Oakland A's. In Los Angeles, DePodesta made a trade in the middle of the 2004 season that sent the Dodgers' starting catcher, Paul Lo Duca, its set-up man, pitcher Guillermo Mota, and outfielder Juan Encarnación to the Florida Marlins for the high on-base percentage first baseman Hee-Seop Choi and power pitcher Brad Penny and pitching prospect Bill Murphy, who was in turn flipped with Koyie Hill and Reggie Abercrombie to the Arizona Diamondbacks for Gold Glove center fielder Steve Finley and catcher Brent Mayne. At the time, DePodesta said of Choi, "I think we've acquired one of the better offensive players in the league."
Finley hit 13 home runs for the Dodgers in his two months with the team. Choi batted .161 with no home runs for the Dodgers after the trade, though he walked 11 times in 87 plate appearances. In the playoff loss to St. Louis that season, Penny did not play, Choi had one at bat (hitless) and Dodger catchers were 3-for-10.
In 2004, the Dodgers won the NL West with a record of 93-69, but lost in four games to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Divisional Series. In the offseason the Dodgers decided not to re-sign Adrián Beltré due to his high contract demands (Beltre finished second in the NL MVP voting and would later sign with Seattle for 5 years/$64 million). DePodesta signed outfielder J. D. Drew for five years at $55 million, sinkerball pitcher Derek Lowe for four years at $36 million, and All-Star second baseman Jeff Kent.
However, the 2005 season, with a record of 71—91, was the Dodgers' second-worst record since moving to Los Angeles, due in part to players' injuries. That off-season, manager Jim Tracy was fired. Soon after Tracy was fired, McCourt fired DePodesta and about a month later, hired Ned Colletti to replace him.
Ned Colletti's first action as GM was the signing of the former Red Sox manager, Grady Little. Colletti then signed several veteran players such as Rafael Furcal, Nomar Garciaparra, Kenny Lofton, and Bill Mueller. These players were among those who led the 2006 Dodgers to the NL Wild Card spot, with an 88–74 record. The Dodgers were swept by the New York Mets in the National League Division Series. In the winter of 2006–07 the team signed Juan Pierre, Jason Schmidt, and Luis Gonzalez.
In October 2007, Grady Little resigned and Joe Torre was hired as their new manager. In 2008 with Torre, Ned Colletti signed Andruw Jones, Hiroki Kuroda, and Chan Ho Park. During the trade deadline the Dodgers acquired Manny Ramirez in a trade with the Boston Red Sox.
In 2007 Dr. Charles Steinberg was hired as executive vice president, marketing and public relations, of the Dodgers after working with the Boston Red Sox and Baltimore Orioles. In 2009, he was reported to be on his way out and was said to be allied with Jamie McCourt and had lost influence as she did, according to a report in the Los Angeles Times.
In 2010, it was revealed that then California Attorney General Jerry Brown was opening an investigation into the Dodgers' charitable foundation, the Dodgers' Dream Foundation. According to tax returns, the charity's chief executive, Howard Sunkin, earned a salary of nearly $400,000 per year, almost a quarter of the foundation's entire budget. Sunkin is a close associate of McCourt and has worked with him during his divorce proceedings. The courts eventually awarded the funds to be repaid, and McCourt personally repaid $100,000.
On October 14, 2009, it was announced the McCourts would be separating after nearly 30 years of marriage. While speculation was raised on the impact upon the McCourt family and Dodger ownership, a spokesperson for Jamie McCourt said the following day that "the focus of the Dodgers is on the playoffs and the World Series." Jamie was fired from her position as Dodgers CEO on Thursday, October 22, 2009, the day after the Dodgers were eliminated from the playoffs. She officially filed for divorce shortly thereafter. He has claimed that the divorce has "no bearing on the team whatsoever."
On December 7, 2010, the judge in the divorce case of the McCourts invalidated the post-nuptial marital property agreement ("MPA") that Frank McCourt had claimed provided him with sole ownership of the Dodgers. In the wake of this decision, Frank McCourt's lawyers said that Frank would use other legal avenues to establish his sole ownership of the Dodgers, while Jamie McCourt's lawyers said that Jamie would be confirmed as the co-owner of the team as community property of their marriage.
On June 17, 2011, the McCourts reached agreement on a settlement of their divorce. The settlement was contingent upon Major League Baseball approving a 17-year television contract between the Dodgers and Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket. The discussion set aside the Dodgers' ownership issue until a scheduled one-day trial on August 4, whereupon if the judge sided with Frank he would keep the team and pay a settlement fee to Jamie and if the judge sided with her the team would be sold. However, on June 20, baseball rejected the television deal and the settlement agreement fell apart.
On October 17, 2011, the McCourts reached a settlement in their divorce case whereby Jamie would receive about $130 million and relinquish her claim on the Dodgers. This ended what is widely believed to be the costliest divorce in California history.
Main article: 2011 Los Angeles Dodgers ownership dispute
In April 2011, MLB Commissioner Bud Selig announced that MLB would be appointing a representative to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers. His statement said that he took that action because of his "deep concerns for the finances and operations" of the Dodgers. This event occurred shortly after an LA Times report that McCourt had obtained a personal loan from Fox to cover the team's payroll for April and May. McCourt vigorously disputed MLB's actions. Nevertheless, Selig appointed former diplomat and former Texas Rangers executive Tom Schieffer to oversee the Dodgers' finances. On June 27, the Dodgers filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy protection.
After much legal wrangling between McCourt's lawyers and MLB lawyers in bankruptcy court, he reached a deal with the league to put the team up for sale. On March 27, 2012, he agreed to sell the team to a group consisting of former L.A. Laker Magic Johnson, former baseball executive Stan Kasten and the Guggenheim Partners for a record price of $2 billion, the highest ever for a professional sports team. McCourt separately sold the land surrounding the stadium for $150 million to the same group, while maintaining some economic interest in the property. According to the Guggenheim Group, McCourt has no control or influence over the land, but will profit from potential future development of it. Also, the new ownership pays $14 million to rent the parking lots surrounding Dodger Stadium from an entity half-owned by McCourt. The sale officially closed on May 1, 2012, ending McCourt's turbulent period as Dodgers owner.
In 2008, McCourt bought the operating rights to the Los Angeles Marathon. McCourt's group changed the route of the Marathon so that it would start at Dodger Stadium. His "Stadium to the Sea" course revitalized the Marathon and in 2010 it drew the largest field in the history of the race. During his divorce he briefly considered selling the Marathon, but he chose to retain the rights and refocus on the race.
McCourt announced in 2019 that he would donate the Los Angeles Marathon and parent company Conqur Endurance to The McCourt Foundation, a Boston-based philanthropic organization overseen by his cousin, Brian McCourt. The vision for combining the entities was to catalyze the social impact potential of both organizations by creating a bicoastal portfolio of events that promote healthier communities. The McCourt Foundation is “dedicated to enhancing the lives of patients and families affected by health-challenges within the neurology community and beyond,” and hosts several endurance sport events to raise funds and awareness for neurological health.
In 2014, McCourt bought 50% of the Global Champions Tour.
In 2017, Frank and Monica McCourt founded a showjumping team, the Miami Celtics.
On August 29, 2016, McCourt entered exclusive negotiations to purchase the French Ligue 1 club Olympique de Marseille from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus. The purchase deal was completed for a reported price tag of €45 million on October 17, 2016. Within the next few days, he appointed Jacques-Henri Eyraud (a French businessman) as the club's president and Rudi Garcia as coach of the club's first team. He pledged to invest €200 million in the club over the next four years.
For the first transfer window in the McCourt era in January 2017, Marseille reinforced the team with the purchase of Dimitri Payet, Patrice Evra, Morgan Sanson, and Grégory Sertic, for a total of around €45M.
In 2021, McCourt came out publicly against the proposed UEFA “Super League.” In an op-ed in newspaper Le Monde, he drew a direct parallel between the opaque centralization of power in both the domains of football and technology, stating that, “We need to think of our institutions not as purely profit-seeking enterprises designed to funnel money and influence to a monopolistic private few, but as part of a larger ecosystem that impacts the public good.”
McCourt founded Unfinished, and Unfinished Labs, its research and development arm, in 2020. The first project of Unfinished Labs — the introduction of the open source Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) — became the foundation of Project Liberty, an initiative launched in June 2021 to "rebuild the foundations of social media." In June 2021, Frank McCourt announced the creation of the McCourt Institute as the newest branch of Unfinished.
Unfinished Labs’ first project — the introduction of the open source Decentralized Social Networking Protocol (DSNP) — became the foundation of Project Liberty, an initiative that seeks to accelerate the world’s transition to an open, inclusive data economy. Frank McCourt formally announced Project Liberty in Paris in June 2021. The launch of Project Liberty included the announcement of the McCourt Institute, an independent establishment dedicated to researching technology that serves the common good. The two foundational partners of the institute are Georgetown University in Washington, DC, and Sciences Po in Paris. McCourt tapped Jacques-Henri Eyraud, the French entrepreneur, academic, and former head of Olympique de Marseille, to lead the institute.
Unfinished convenes and collaborates with a coalition of partners called the Unfinished Network. Unfinished Network partners include Amplifier, Ashoka, the Aspen Institute, Citizen University, Common Goal, For Freedoms, the Ford Foundation, Georgetown University, Heartland Forward, Imperative 21, Independent Sector, Max Stenbeck Charitable Fund, Mil M2, New_Public, PolicyLink, Serpentine, and The Shed.
The president of Unfinished Network and Media and Paula Recart and its chairperson is Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence of PolicyLink.
The first initiative of the Unfinished Network was Unfinished Live, a four-part series that debuted in 2020. The show explored questions submitted by the public centered on the theme, “What’s Possible Now?” through a variety of formats. The final episode featured Frank McCourt describing his intentions for launching Unfinished and his vision for how it can inspire positive change.
Unfinished Live held its second annual event in New York City from September 23-25, 2021. The event theme, “The Future is Decentralized,” drew from the mission Unfinished pursues across its verticals to strengthen civic life in the digital age. The event was hosted at The Shed, the innovative cultural center in Manhattan, for which Frank McCourt has been a stalwart champion and major benefactor since its inception. Described by The Shed as "a convening of technologists, journalists, thought leaders, and artists to tackle consequential questions of our time," the event brought together speakers from across disciplines for the stated purpose of "accelerating the social impact of ideas by fostering conversation, challenging the status quo, and constructing new paths to action." As part of the programming, McCourt and Braxton Woodham, President of Unfinished Labs, were interviewed by Sara Fischer of Axios about reimagining social networking as public infrastructure.
The event included a free public exhibit by artist Refik Anadol, titled "Project Liberty Experience" after the founding initiative of Unfinished. The audiovisual work featured a large, cylindric tower covered in screens that displayed massive amounts of data as small, shimmering pictures that reacted to viewers. The exhibit intended audiences to "experience a world where you own and control your data." Speaking to The Guardian about the exhibit, McCourt said, “We need a new civic architecture that responds to that and accommodates that [digital] world – a tech architecture that creates value for society, not one that extracts value from society." The display was housed in The McCourt, the iconic, movable outer shell of The Shed.
McCourt's grandfather was part-owner of the Boston Braves along with Lou Perini and others. Inspired by his grandfather and the others' formation of the Jimmy Fund, McCourt started ThinkCure to fight cancer.
McCourt and his ex-wife Jamie have four sons, Drew, Travis, Casey, and Gavin. In 2015, McCourt remarried to Monica Algarra. The couple has a daughter, Luciana Hayes McCourt, and a son, Brodie Enrique McCourt.
McCourt owns homes in Mashpee and Cotuit, Massachusetts.