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The McCourts may settle soon. And then Frank would have to deal with Bud Selig

Apr 5, 2011, 8:23 AM EDT

McCourt Divorce Trial Continues With Ownership Of Dodgers In Contention Getty Images

Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times reports that Frank and Jamie McCourt may settle soon. That’s the good news. The bad news — or, at the very least, the uncertain news — is that the settlement may once again involve a scenario in which part of the payoff to Jamie comes in exchange for Frank making a new deal with FOX for the team’s broadcasting rights. This could be a problem.

Why? Because last time that came up, Bud Selig rejected the notion. The reason, it seems, was because the deal apparently had FOX lending McCourt money in exchange for a discounted broadcast rate.  This new deal, Shaikin reports, would be a bigger, longer broadcast deal — Shaikin says $3 billion over 20 years — that more closely reflects the market rate for Dodgers telecasts.

Yet, Shaikin says, it’s not certain that Selig would approve the deal. And indeed, he could again reject it, possibly with the intent of squeezing McCourt out. And if that happens many in the game think that McCourt would sue Selig, which would be seventeen kinds of ugly.

It seems to me that it could be more than wanting to squeeze McCourt out that would animate Selig to reject the deal. Rather, it could be that baseball would really, really like a marquee team in a major market to do what the Yankees, Sox and Mets have done and form its own cable network someday. If FOX had long term rights, that couldn’t happen.  We haven’t seen that level of meddling in TV deals by the commissioner’s office before, however, so maybe that’s just too pie-in-the sky.

Either way, it seems that the endgame is near. Or, if Selig decides to get tough, the end of the first chapter of an even longer game is near.

  1. koufaxmitzvah - Apr 5, 2011 at 8:42 AM

    “It seems to me that it could be more than wanting to squeeze McCourt out that would animate Selig to reject the deal. Rather, it could be that baseball would really, really like a marquee team in a major market to do what the Yankees, Sox and Mets have done and form its own cable network someday.”

    What’s funny is that Bud Selig spearheaded the McCourt ownership because he wanted to control the spending of the large market teams. Hence, the Dodgers move from Shawn Green and Adrian Beltre at the corners to Hee Seop Choi and Jose “I lost the ball in the chalk” Valentin– basically mere pennies on the dollar.

    The bad news is that McCourt actually had to borrow money from Fox to buy our team from Fox. The really bad news is that Frank and Jamie want to pass along their bounty to their children.

    But the really, really bad news is that this makes Bud Selig and the rest of MLB look like fools. Folks say that the LA fans are laid back and not into their sports. Wrong. LA fans don’t like to be taken for rides by out of towners who think they can be part of the Southern California culture (yes, there is some). See, no NFL in LA. The reason isn’t because the Raiders and Rams didn’t draw. The reason is more because the NFL has wanted LA taxpayers to shell out cash for another billionaire to pocket off a new stadium, and City Council has said many times, “No dice.”

    Hopefully, Dodger fans will continue to not show up to the Ravine, and Bud can restlessly toss in that bed he made.

    • hep3 - Apr 5, 2011 at 10:02 AM

      A lawsuit between McCourt and Selig might get rid of baseball’s bogus Antitrust Exemption that they have had since 1922 because the Supreme Court ruled Baseball is a sport, not a business.

      It also brings to mind the quote by the late Edward Bennett Williams:

      “What is dumber than the dumbest football owner? The smartest baseball owner.”

  2. koufaxmitzvah - Apr 5, 2011 at 8:44 AM

    Man, they are ugly people.

  3. BC - Apr 5, 2011 at 9:43 AM

    Can the Wilpons just trade the Mets for the Dodgers? Is that allowed?

    • Kevin S. - Apr 5, 2011 at 11:58 AM

      You want the McCourts? Good god man, how much capacity for punishment do you have?

    • Utley's Hair - Apr 5, 2011 at 12:24 PM

      Damn, BC, that’s extreme even for a Mutts fan.

  4. monsieurbear - Apr 5, 2011 at 3:43 PM

    I imagine that Bud says that the Fox deal is fine so long as all of the money goes to the Dodgers and none to either of the McCourts, which is certainly a defensible position to take regarding a team up to the wazoo in debt. If none of the Fox money can be diverted to settle the divorce, the Dodgers will need to be sold to finance any settlement.

    With respect to koufaxmitzvah, LA Dodgers fans can and were “taken for a ride by out of towners who think they can be part of the Southern California culture”. And they reveled it for five seasons.

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