The president ofthe Dodgers is a bit tired of the rally towel. "Really, who needs anotherone of those?" says McCourt, whose husband, Frank, purchased the team fromRupert Murdoch for $430 million in January 2004. McCourt, the highest rankingwoman in baseball, wants to revolutionize ballpark giveaways. Coming to DodgerStadium on July 29: free lipstick at the turnstile. The promotion is part ofher mission to lure as many fans as possible to Chavez Ravine. "We have ahuge female base; 40 percent of our fans are women," says McCourt. "Theballpark is a great place to spend time with your children. And my favoritething of all: Women spend a lot of money."
A 5'2",100-pound bundle of energy, McCourt, 52, has run the Dodgers' businessoperations since the change in ownership two years ago, and last August she wasnamed team president. Say what you want about the product on the field-L.A. was71-91 last year, its worst record since 1992-but in the ledger the Dodgers arehumming along. Last year's attendance of 3.6 million was the best since '82;sponsorship revenue was up 40% over '04; a $50 million annual operating deficitwas erased; and the club broke even last season for the first time in a decade.In addition, the team's community outreach efforts broadened with the launch ofsuch programs as the Dodgers Women's Initiative & Network, which aims toexpand the club's female fan base. Says McCourt, "We're trying to bring tobaseball the standards of the country's best corporations."
A native ofBaltimore, McCourt was a longtime Orioles fan who at age nine told her mothershe wanted to own a baseball team someday. She earned a bachelor's degree inFrench at Georgetown, a law degree from Maryland and an MBA from MIT's SloanSchool of Management, at which she unsuccessfully lobbied professors to approvethe idea for a thesis on the economics of new ballpark construction. McCourtpracticed law for 15 years, then worked alongside her husband in real estatefor 10 years in Boston, where the couple-who have four sons, ages 15 to 24-madetheir fortune. In 2004 she, Frank and their sons relocated to California to runthe Dodgers.
"From thetiniest things to big changes, whether it's wider food selection or providingactivities for children, the goal is to make the ballpark an even moreappealing destination for everyone," says McCourt, who has been involvedwith a $20 million renovation of 44-year-old Dodger Stadium that includesreplacing every seat in the ballpark. "I've got a lot of ideas on how wecan do that."
Free lipstick isjust the beginning: Jamie McCourt has only started putting her stamp on theDodgers.
JEFFERY A. SALTER