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The Dodgers’ goal in bankruptcy: a television rights auction

Jun 27, 2011, 1:05 PM EDT

old TV

The Los Angeles Times’ Bill Shaikin has been reading the bankruptcy filings this morning, and notes that Frank McCourt’s apparent end game here is to get the bankruptcy court to auction off the television rights for the Dodgers, thereby providing them with the cash they need to keep going.

The obstacles: the Dodgers’ current deal with Fox forbids them from negotiating with anyone but Fox until November of next year and, or course, the anticipated objections of major league baseball.

As for the former, the bankruptcy court could simply set that provision aside from the Fox deal or, depending on how they feel about things at the moment, Fox could simply waive it and join in an auction.  Major League Baseball, meanwhile, is likely to object to any rights auction, as it, in the normal course, has the power to approve all TV deals.  As we learned in the Rangers’ bankruptcy, however, bankruptcy courts often disagree with Major League Baseball with respect to the powers it truly possesses.

What remains problematic, however, is what would happen even if there is a rights auction like McCourt wants. Under the proposed-but-kiboshed Fox deal, a big chunk of the up-front money was going to Jamie McCourt as a means of settling the divorce case.  It seems unlikely that the bankruptcy judge would even touch that given that it’s the Dodgers who are in front of him and not the McCourts in their personal capacity (and how a judge could agree that $180 million or whatever off the top to the McCourts serves the best interests of the team’s creditors is beyond me).

So, unless I’m missing something, best case scenario for McCourt here is a rights auction that brings a lot of money, at the end of which he still has to fight with Jamie over who really owns the team.  I guess that’s better than nothing, but it’s not exactly where he wants to be either.

  1. cup0pizza - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:12 PM

    This McCourt clown just won’t go away. Never have seen anyone so stubborn. What a nightmare.

    • Old Gator - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:17 PM

      A lot of us feel the same way when you show up on the board. What a coincidence.

      • Old Gator - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:55 PM

        Wow – you must have had to run up and down the stairs all over the building to check in from all those different computers….

      • CJ - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:43 PM

        beat me to it! perhaps McCourt = cup0pizza??? Could any other man be crazy enough to put pizza in a cup?

  2. SmackSaw - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:23 PM

    Those two Dodger fans beat up the wrong guy.

    • craigbhill - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:07 PM

      How hard would it be to rectify that error???

    • gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:56 PM

      no doubt,,, absolutely,, effin a fore sure
      a giants fan feels that all is wrong wrong wrong in LA
      not much worse that a team not good enough to hate
      a situation that makes me pity and feel for all the game, not
      in LA
      this sucks,
      two times to that, let’s make this right,, get that sucker on his way to his ride next nite at the yard, ain’t no lights in that lot no how,,,,,,
      eff that boycott,, we go to the yard tomorrow!!
      oh,,, he hatn’t been to a game in weeks,,, cuz he afraid,,, or his own yard??!WTF
      oh,,, he hangin hisself,,,, well he don’t,, he best be on the next flight out, cuz this man gonna need a police escort to get out of town brothar,,, this man not long for LA at all,,,,,,
      Giant Fan misses and needs a Major League operation to compete with, now that we finally,, lifetimes,, got one of our own,, sorta,,,,
      The most interesting part of the filings, to me, is that all five Dodger entities which are now in bankruptcy list between $500 million and $1 billion in assets. Just one, however, shows any significant debt. That one: the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

  3. paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:48 PM

    Obviously, any new TV deal wouldn’t start until 2013. When, exactly, would the court require payment for something that will not start for nearly 2 years? In an auction format, it would seem that the court would consider the largest total sum to be the best offer, not which offer comes with the most up front money.

    • Kevin S. - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:53 PM

      Ah, but you see, the TV contract would give McCourt more future collateral to borrow against!

      • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:58 PM

        Okay….but who in the world would be willing to loan him any more money? Aren’t those to whom he is already indebted just hoping to get their money back at this point (any interest would be a bonus)?

  4. Old Gator - Jun 27, 2011 at 1:59 PM

    Just wondering – could MLB refuse to meet payroll and then agree when the MLBPA declares all of its players free agents? Allow all the other teams a 26th player and the Union would probably fall right in line. Why not just “contract” it temporarily at leave it worthless until the idiot agrees to sell it off? It would be a temporary mess, but surely no worse on its own scale than Ronald Reagan’s reorganization of the Air Traffic Control System after he shitcanned the controller’s union. I’m tempted to say that if Ron Headrest could handle it, Bud Light probably can too.

    With a bit more help, of course.

    • craigbhill - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:13 PM

      And this is good for baeball how exactly???…McCourt is in this for the OWNERSHIP, not the fun of the team winning on the field. As long as he clings to the franchise as the remora eel he is, he benefits, no matter how bad the team. IF he signs a contract that involves guaranteed money, he could dress up the peanut vendors in unis and still be a billionaire from the tv revenue. UNLESS! MLB doesn’t approve that contract. That’s what it’s all about: Doin the Hokey-Pokey.

    • gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:03 PM

      better just to off him now and be done with the turd,, park his car far away in his lot in an unlit space,, those dirty Fodger fans take care of him.

      • gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:04 PM

        put him next to Hoffa,,, make like an easter egg hunt for him in the parking lot never to be found,,, do it every year and rejoice,,

  5. Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:00 PM

    I just wish that everybody who kills this guy and calls him a scumbag and everything under the sun remembers the following quote from MLB’s esteemed leader…

    “We have more stringent ownership rules than we’ve ever had. The banks were satisfied. We were satisfied. There’s no doubt in my mind that he is and will be a good owner of a very storied franchise.” – Bud Selig, Jan. 31, 2004.

    Link for reference…,1648685&dq=frank+mccourt+buys+dodgers&hl=en

    • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:12 PM

      The fact that the scumbag proved Selig wrong has no bearing on the degree of scumbaggery exhibited by the McCourts.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:18 PM

        But who is more of a scumbag…the incompetent scumbag, or the greedy incompetent scumbag who let him in?

      • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:29 PM

        I don’t know or care who was worse, it doesn’t matter because whether or not the Dodgers should remain in McCourt’s hands has no bearing on the answer….both are bad…the raping of Milwaukee by Selig was all kinds of nefarious…but the raping of the Dodgers by the McCourts was just as bad….and one could argue that McCourt is easily the more greedy of the two…one of them never lived so far beyond his means that he had to file for bankruptcy.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:48 PM

        Paper, I think you are discounting the fact that Bud is soooooo much of a control freak and so worried about getting who HE wants owning a baseball team, that he throws caution into the wind and allow a guy to leverage his ass off while BILLIONAIRES like Mark Cuban can’t own a team because they would want too much of the spotlight. Now I ask you…who is a bigger scumbag…McCourt who over-leveraged himself, overspent his bounds, but didn’t lie about his worth and didn’t mislead MLB about how much debt he was getting into when he bought the team…or Bud Selig, who allowed this guy to buy the team when all he had was some plot of land when land values were going down? And then Selig will say behind closed doors that he doesn’t want an owner like Cuban?

        As far as I am concerned, it is Selig much more than McCourt who is the scumbag here. McCourt is just trying to hold onto his asset. Selig is the jackass who put McCourt into the asset to begin with. And yet NOBODY is writing the “Scumbag Selig” articles.

        Maybe I am just tired of Shaikin and his Washington Monument sized hard-on for the McCourts and would like just once to read an article blasting Bud for allowing them into MLB to begin with.

      • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:06 PM

        I’m not sure that Bud is the control freak. I am sure he is involved in decisions, but he is most assuredly the tool of the owners. He does what they, as a group, want him to do. Part of his job is to take the heat for unpopular decisions. For example, Selig had little to do with the WS being cancelled, but he is the one always blamed for it. It was the players who went on strike while still under contract that resulted in the WS being cancelled. The players chose to strike because they felt that it would enhance their leverage in negotiations.

        Selig himself doesn’t have that much power, he can’t (and won’t) do anything the owners don’t want him to do….he is the guy the owners put up for you to hate in their place.

      • Chris Fiorentino - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:24 PM

        Paper, I couldn’t disagree with you more and I think you will find that your view is in the extreme minority on this board. Bud controls incoming ownerships a lot more than you think and he also controls all of MLB a lot more than you think.

      • paperlions - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:41 PM

        Bud has the job only because the owners want him to have it. The only reason he has been the Commissioner for this long is because he is doing exactly what the owners want him to do. He doesn’t control anything, he just tries to make the owners wishes become reality. The owners could get rid of him at any time….instead, they throw more money at him year after year to get him to stay.

      • CJ - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:46 PM

        can we call it a tie and leave it at that?

    • craigbhill - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:16 PM

      Yes, Bud’s almost as corrupt as McCourt. And the enemy of my enemy is my commissioner of baseball, with all the power and authority thereunto.

    • hep3 - Jun 27, 2011 at 2:21 PM

      Bud, sadly, never remembers anything. He doesn’t remember he cancelled the season in 1994, he doesn’t remember being interviewed by Bob Nightengale in 1995 about PEDs, and I am sure he does not remember the so aptly provided quote about McCourt.

      This is truly a mess of EPIC proportions. They all deserve each other.

    • lanflfan - Jun 27, 2011 at 3:54 PM

      When dealing with scumbags this big, you don’t ask which one is bigger. Bud $elig has done far more damage to baseball than good, and I think now that his reign is nearly over he realizes that. Letting the clown Mccourt buy the Dodgers was one of his bigger bone head decisions.

      I give Bud credit for trying to get this leech out of baseball. I also still hate Bud $elig for his other monumental bone head decisions and will be glad when he is the ex-commish. But until then, you fight battles one at a time. And first off is Frank. Next would be fixing the Mets ownership issues.

    • Senor Cardgage - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:00 PM

      You’ve mentioned similar things about Selig in other threads. Why do you keep bringing this up as if it’s news? It was seven and a half years ago that he said that. Obviously he was dead wrong. Are you saying that McCourt should get to keep the Dodgers because Selig said he would be a good owner three-quarters of a decade ago? If not, then all your Selig bashing is irrelevant to the situation at hand (whether or not the criticism itself is valid).

    • gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:15 PM

      Selig should have gone extinct long ago. Quite the survivor. A symptom of Selig is prolonged and unjustifiable sh”” hidden behind a cloak of financial success. Apparently, Selig is not fatal to the organism, it invariably dies of age before killing the host. During its life it expected to actually retard growth toward higher levels and only grow following the lead of the least active of the group.
      Now, a full McCourt may actually be fatal, though none have been observed. Through major use of major functions, the head may become oblivious to the general actions of the whole and more chaos may ensue. A simple McCourt may simply drain a specific area of the host to the point of brief paralysis and discomfort. The host rarely dies from this, but also, is rarely left unscarred.
      To treat a McCourt infection in late-early to late stages, the condition is best met at the foot of Dodger Stadia during off hours in conjunction with the departing Brinks van.
      Bring Back the Dodgers,,,,, please

  6. tellyspop - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:01 PM

    In my previous life as a dog, I did due diligence for the infamous RTC. In reading what financial details I can get about the McCourts is they used this franchise and ancillary holdings as their personal check book like many of the failed S&L owners. This is a great opportunity to buy this baseball team. MLB rules do not apply!! I would present my bona fides to the court and trustee – lawyers who can’t make it private practice, wipe out all debt, place an involuntary bankruptcy petition on the holding companies for parking and concessions. I come in with a pre-negotiated TV deal, no need for MLB approval, and get this for .10 cents on the dollar and, and, make the big contracts unsecured, make Manny, Chaz me for years and years, and threaten anti-trust, cause right now, the wingers on the court always side with bidness, you know, I am a corporation, I have rights! It sez so, someplace in the constitution, you know, life, liberty and the pursuit of illegal happiness. There is no way this team can be sold on a piecemeal basis. I would bring in Kimberly Bell to say she was Frank’s GFF, if that’s what it took. If it does, my fall back is, if need be, I buy the team, without parking and food, then I buy the land around the the parking lot, eminent domain my brothers and sisters, build new parking lots and Berlin Airlift my fans to the Rav. I air drop food and beverage from the Bud Blimp. Just a scenario. The bankruptcy judge is my new BFF, not El Budo or Frank “Whitey” McCourt. I have chunks of these guys in my stool. What say you seamheads?

    • gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:27 PM

      I say you right, except Scalia can’t get his hands on MLB just yet. He not a tax payin heavy employer either. He gets no favor, first time around, in
      court. He will lose it all. Just time and money, and a sad team in a beautiful yard that fans are right to stay away from. He runs it to the end of the line and we are all a couple or few years from really enjoying ball in LA as it should be,,, a cathedral to the future rule that is Orange from the north lands,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
      off the McCourt and restore order to the universe

  7. gogigantos - Jun 27, 2011 at 4:21 PM
    The most interesting part of the filings, to me, is that all five Dodger entities which are now in bankruptcy list between $500 million and $1 billion in assets. Just one, however, shows any significant debt. That one: the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team.

  8. cup0pizza - Jun 27, 2011 at 5:01 PM

    CJ, please never again compare me to McCourt, and pizza in a cup is delightful.

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