Bloomberg News

Baseball Seeks to Stop Fox From Questioning Selig on Dodgers

December 07, 2011

(Updates with excerpt from filing in third paragraph.)

Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- Major League Baseball said Fox Sports shouldn’t be allowed to question Commissioner Bud Selig under oath about the sale of the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers.

Fox is seeking to question Selig and to obtain copies of documents related to a settlement that requires team owner Frank McCourt to sell the club, Major League Baseball said in a letter filed today in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware. The confidential settlement ended a months-long battle between the baseball commissioner and McCourt over how to reorganize the Dodgers.

“Fox should not be permitted to drag Major League Baseball back into the very litigation morass from which it extracted itself through the settlement,” Glenn Kurtz, an attorney for Selig, said in a letter to the judge overseeing the Dodgers’ bankruptcy.

The Dodgers filed for bankruptcy in June with plans to sell television rights to future games, which Fox Sports Net West 2 LLC holds through the 2013 season. The team wants to accelerate the marketing process for the rights by first giving Fox 45 days to extend its contract. Should that fail, the team would seek other bids, according to court documents.

Negotiations in 2012

Fox, a unit of New York-based News Corp., claims McCourt is wrongly trying use bankruptcy to break the team’s current TV contract with Fox’s Prime Ticket unit. That contract prevents any negotiations on future TV rights before December 2012.

Last month, U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross rejected Fox’s request to prepare for a Dec. 7 hearing on the TV rights by questioning Selig and McCourt. Fox shouldn’t be allowed to question Selig in preparation for a separate Dec. 27 hearing, at which the broadcaster will try to persuade Gross to throw the Dodgers out of bankruptcy, MLB said in its letter.

Fox Sports, through spokesman Chris Bellitti, declined to comment.

Under the Dodgers’ deal with MLB, McCourt agreed to sell the team and MLB agreed not to oppose a separate bidding process for the television rights. Under the proposed rules, no sale of the TV rights can go forward without approval from MLB, Gross and whoever wins the bidding for the team.

The bankruptcy case is In re Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, 11- 12010 in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware (Wilmington).

--Editors: Andrew Dunn,

To contact the reporter on this story: Steven Church in Wilmington at schurch3@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: John Pickering at jpickering@bloomberg.net


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