Frank McCourt, the former Los Angeles Dodgers owner, has completed his takeover of Ligue 1’s Marseille from Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.
It is thought that McCourt paid €45 million to buy the club from the widow of Franco-Swiss businessman Robert Louis-Dreyfus who had bought the club in 1997 but died in 2009.
Over the past few seasons the nine times Ligue 1 winners have stagnated and they only managed a thirteenth place finish last season. However, McCourt has promised a better future for the club.
In a statement released on the club’s website he said, “Today opens a new chapter in the great history of Olympique de Marseille. A chapter of which I am proud and honoured to be a part.”
The statement goes on to say that he has no doubt that the challenges the team has faced both on and off the pitch have had a negative impact on fans. However, he praised the fans for remaining loyal despite the difficulties and in doing so “demonstrating the power of sport and the affection they have for our club.”
— Olympique Marseille (@OM_Officiel) October 20, 2016
He goes on to thank the fans for their support and then assures them that he is committed to making “every effort to be worthy of your support and pursue our sporting ambitions.”
McCourt has a background in real estate but he also has an extensive history in the business side of sport. He is the grandson of a part-owner of the Boston Braves baseball team and he once tried to buy Major League Baseball’s Boston Red Sox before buying the Dodgers in 2004.
In 2012 he sold the Dodgers to a group fronted by Magic Johnson for a record price of $2 million, the most ever paid for a sports team.