This offseason's scheduled improvements under Next 50, a renovation initiative designed to make Dodger Stadium a suitable home for the next half-century, have been put on hold for another year. The plans to upgrade the second, or "Loge," level were first shelved last winter due to the unusually short offseason for the Stadium. Recall that the venue hosted the NLCS in mid-October and the World Baseball Classic in late March. Is the second winter's delay due to the McCourt Divorce? Daniel Miller of the Los Angeles Business Journal answers with a resounding "maybe." He explains:
It is unclear how the divorce proceedings or potential ownership change would affect the longer-term Next 50 plans.
“One claim could be made that the cost of improvements is a devaluing factor. Another claim is that the investment is an escalating valuation factor. It really does place in center stage the cost and value of the improvements,” [Larry Kosmont, an L.A. economic development consultant] said. “It’s very hard to get a clear picture so it makes it harder to move forward with things.”As we've discussed before, significant capital expenditures are difficult to make in this market no matter what, but that problem will be compounded many times over by the divorce. While few would argue that Next 50's $60 million price tag is necessary for the long term viability of Dodger Stadium, the question will be: is it necessary now?
My guess is that once the court begins to exercise its mechanisms of control over the Dodgers (as the McCourt's primary marital asset), any cosmetic or superfluous expenditures will be in jeopardy. Necessary infrastructure, security, or accessibility improvements are much more likely to be allowed. But for those who call the Loge level their Chavez Ravine home, the expanded concourses, fancier restrooms, and cushier amenities available to the Field-level basement-dwellers might be at least one more season away.