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The Dodgers sue Fox over TV rights messiness

Nov 16, 2011, 1:32 PM EDT

old TV

There’s not a much better way to characterize this in a headline, because it is just messiness. The upshot, though:

  • Fox has the TV rights and exclusive rights to negotiate with the Dodgers over the next TV deal until sometime next year;
  • The Dodgers, even though they are to be sold, would like to be able to shop around for a new TV rights deal now, presumably because they believe it will make the team more valuable;
  • To that end, the Dodgers have asked the bankruptcy court if, Fox’s contract rights notwithstanding, they can shop the rights.  The court is still considering that request;
  • Seeing all of this, last week Fox sent a letter to the investment bank which would handle the TV rights stuff, telling it to cease and desist, citing its contract rights;
  • Now the Dodgers have sued Fox, claiming that doing so interfered with their rights to shop the rights.

So yeah, a mess.  A mess that seems like it will be resolved well before anyone really gets into court, however. Either (a) because the lawsuit prevents the Dodgers from finding a buyer, which they are obligated to do by next April; or (b) by the bankruptcy court ruling one way or the other on the Dodgers’ request to auction TV rights which, unless I’m missing something, would moot all of this, no?

  1. paperlions - Nov 16, 2011 at 1:45 PM

    Selling the TV rights would REDUCE the value of the franchise….because a smart new owner would be interested in using the franchise as the center piece for a RSN, which can be cash cows.

  2. jwbiii - Nov 16, 2011 at 1:47 PM

    “The Dodgers, even though they are to be sold, would like to be able to shop around for a new TV rights deal now, presumably because they believe it will make the team more valuable McCourt believes he can pocket the up-front portion of the money;”

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2011 at 2:18 PM

      Seriously. Could there be any other motivation behind this flagrant breach of contract? If they want to negotiate with others, simply wait until Fox’s window of exclusivity expires. Too bad for McBroke that’ll be after he’s gone.

    • lanflfan - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      jwbii, nice job translating that into Frank McCourt’s native speak (he isn’t intelligent enough for a native language).

      Interesting that Frank pulls this crap, after “apologizing” for all the distractions and promising not to stand in the way of the sale on local LA TV earlier this week. Calling him dung is an insult to any decent pile of dung.

  3. churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:24 PM

    Dumb question, obvious caveat that IAMAL, but how does he keep coming up with the money to do all this (lawsuit after lawsuit)? I can’t imagine he’s hiring Lionel Hutz, so the attorneys have to be charging an arm and a leg. Where’s McCourt getting the money?

    • Kevin S. - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:34 PM

      McCourt’s issues don’t mean that he has zero cashflow. I highly doubt he’s stopped drawing a salary from the Dodgers, for example.

      • lanflfan - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:37 PM

        I figure he will keep bleeding the Dodgers until the new owners pry his grubby little paws off the money.

  4. lanflfan - Nov 16, 2011 at 4:30 PM

    I know it has to be done this way, but it seriously irks me everytime I read an idiotic maneuver like this attributed to “the Dodgers”, rather than to the real culprit, Frank McCourt. He can’t become the “former” owner of the Dodgers soon enough for me.

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