Bloomberg News

News Corp.’s Fox Seeks to Dismiss Dodgers Bankruptcy Case

November 20, 2011

(Updates with television rights in second paragraph.)

Nov. 18 (Bloomberg) -- News Corp.’s Fox Sports Net West 2 unit asked a judge to dismiss the bankruptcy case filed by the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

The unit, which televises Dodger games through its Prime Ticket unit, is trying to prevent the team from soliciting bids on television rights to the Major League Baseball team’s future games. Fox’s current contract gives it the exclusive right to negotiate an extension of its TV rights until after November 2012.

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt ended his battle for control of the team’s future with the league by agreeing to sell the club. Under the agreement, which isn’t public and hasn’t been submitted to the court for approval, MLB agreed that the future TV rights can be marketed separately from the team. Terms of the agreement are described in court filings and a joint statement from the Dodgers and MLB.

The bankruptcy case is an “elaborate contrivance by a desperate McCourt, who needs to generate more cash to fund his divorce settlement, lifestyle and other personal obligations,” Fox said in today’s filing U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington Delaware. In seeking the dismissal, the company said it “urges this court not to allow itself to be co-opted into McCourt’s abuses of the bankruptcy process.”

McCourt tried selling the television rights to future Dodgers’ games to Fox before he put the team into bankruptcy. The team filed for court protection from its creditors in June, after Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig rejected a proposed extension of Fox’s TV contract.

The Dodgers sued Fox Nov. 16 as part of the bankruptcy case, claiming the network is interfering with its plans to sell the team and solicit offers for the TV rights.

The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11-12010, and the Fox case is Los Angeles Dodgers LLC v. Fox Sports Net West 2 LLC, 11-53829, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

--With assistance from Steven Church in Wilmington. Editors: Michael Hytha, Sylvia Wier

To contact the reporter on this story: Joel Rosenblatt in San Francisco at jrosenblatt@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net


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