Bloomberg News

Baseball Commissioner Selig Rejects Dodgers Deal With Fox

June 20, 2011

(Updates with commissioner’s comment in second paragraph.)

June 20 (Bloomberg) -- Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected the Los Angeles Dodgers’ proposed TV deal with Fox Sports, a move that may force a sale of the team.

“This decision was reached after a full and careful consideration of the terms of the proposed transaction and the club’s current circumstances,” Selig said today in a statement. “It is my conclusion that this proposed transaction with Fox would not be in the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, the game of baseball and the millions of loyal fans of this historic club.”

A community property settlement hammered out last week between Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, hinged on league approval of the long-term TV contract with News Corp.’s Fox television. That agreement included a $385 million loan that would have alleviated a cash squeeze at the team.

“Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt,” Selig said. “Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans.”

The couple have fought over ownership of the team and agreed to have their dispute resolved through a one-day trial for Aug. 4 to address Frank McCourt’s remaining claim he has sole title to the team.

Representatives of Frank and Jamie McCourt declined to comment, as did Lou D’Ermilio, a spokesman for Fox Sports.

--With assistance from Michael White and Nora Zimmett in Los Angeles. Editors: Rob Golum, Anthony Palazzo

To contact the reporter on this story: Curtis Eichelberger in Washington at ceichelberge@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Anthony Palazzo at apalazzo@bloomberg.net.


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