Frank McCourt, the owner of the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers, has come to terms with Major League Baseball (MLB) over what to do about the team’s television rights. That is not good news for Fox Sports, the current rights owner.
In a bankruptcy court filing on Saturday (11/12) McCourt asked for court permission to seek bids for the TV rights as well as for the team itself. That, his lawyers argued, would maximize the recovery for the team’s creditors. MLB, which had previously opposed McCourt’s efforts to sell future media rights, has now come to an agreement with him.
Fox Sports holds the current TV rights to the Dodgers, which run through 2013. It also holds a first right to negotiate an extension, but that’s not supposed to begin under the contract until next October. Fox has opposed the idea of speeding up that process to negotiate a new contract while the Dodgers remain in Chapter 11.
The bankruptcy court is being asked to allow McCourt’s bankruptcy advisor, Blackburn Group, to begin negotiations with Fox immediately. If there is no agreement on a contract for future media rights with Fox, the next step would be to seek other bidders for the future TV rights.