Dallas Mavericks owner, Mark Cuban is pushing MLB to say that if he wins at auction to purchase the Texas Rangers on Weds. he should go up for a vote of approval by MLB’s 30 owners by no later than Aug. 16. Cuban, in court documents filed today through his “Radical Pitch, LLC”, said he is seeking an Emergency Motion for Order Directing Major League Baseball and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball to Expedite the Approval Process saying that in discussions with the league on Saturday, “Major League Baseball (“MLB”) and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball (the “BOC”) informed Radical Pitch that its approval process could take as long as six (6) to nine (9) months.” The filing adds that Cuban had requested MLB and the Office of the Commissioner of Baseball “to expedite the approval process but, as of the filing of this Motion, has received a response to its request.” It is assumed that there is a typo in the sentence in the filing as it should read “had not received a response to its request.”
Strong wording goes on to say that, “MLB and (Office of the Commissioner of Baseball) have the ability to expedite the approval process but, for some unknown reason, appears wholly unwilling.”
The request goes on to say that if Cuban is the successful bidder at Weds. auction, “Radical Pitch must close on or before August 16th.” The filing does not elaborate as to why the Aug. 16 date must be met.
(Read Cuban's filing)
Cuban adds that “it is necessary for Radical Pitch to have a fair and level playing field with (the Greenberg/Ryan group), the stalking horse bidder.”
Major League Baseball has said that Greenberg/Ryan, their preferred group, could be approved by Aug. 12 if they were to win at auction. The group requested a speedy auction date as financing commitments are set to expire on the 12th.
Cuban was pre-approved prior for bidding on the Chicago Cubs when they were up for sale. The league has claimed that the extra time for any bidding group that wins at auction on Weds., other than Greenberg/Ryan, needs extra time for the 30 owners to conduct due-diligence before conducting a vote for final approval. The Major League Baseball Constitution, under Article V, Section 2, goes on to say that three-fourths of the leagues owners must approve, “the sale or transfer of a control interest in any Club”.
With final bids being required by 8pm CT on Tues., Judge Michael Lynn, who is overseeing the case, would have to hold the hearing on Tues. before the 8pm deadline, if Cuban’s funding is contingent on a speedy approval. If Judge Lynn were to deny the hearing, and Cuban were to pull out of the auction, the creditors in the case might likely say that the process is not fair without having Cuban in play.
The motion, along with MLB’s approval process, could have broad implications for not only baseball, but other sports leagues. The NHL, NFL, and NBA all have similar provisions within their league constitutions. Most recently, the NHL’s constitution regarding ownership transfer was challenged as part of the Phoenix Coyotes bankruptcy case. The difference maker for Judge Baum in that case was that Jim Balsillie was looking to purchase the Coyotes from Jerry Moyes, and forcibly relocate them to Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Baum declined to rule either way in the case, but made it clear relocation over league approval was a looming aspect that he was not willing to address.
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