While Tom Scheiffer, the trustee for Major League Baseball assigned to oversee the day-to-day operations of the Dodgers was in Los Angeles, Frank McCourt met in New York with league representatives where they vetoed TV deal with Fox, throwing the beleaguered owner into angry response.
The deal, which was reportedly a 17-year deal with more than $3 billion was said by McCourt to have the ability to infuse $300 million in upfront equity straight into the club, thus giving one of baseball’s most historic brands much needed stability after a divorce and attendance woes have torn it apart.
"Nobody handed the Dodgers to me and nobody's going to take it away,'' McCourt said at an evening press conference. "I'm not going anywhere. I'm here to continue to run this club.'' The Dodgers owner added that vetoing the TV deal with Fox was "fundamentally wrong."
McCourt then lashed out at Commissioner Selig who was not in attendance, according to some, due to possible legal concerns should McCourt look to sue.
“The commissioner who was not present at the meeting…apparently there was a call from him afterwards where he once again vetoed the deal….and I am very disappointed!” McCourt said. “Baseball is our national past time, it’s America’s game. America is about rights, value and what the commissioner has done is Un-American.”
After McCourt addressed the media, Rob Manfred, Major League Baseball’s Executive Vice President of Labor Relations, issued statement today regarding the matter:
“It is unfortunate that Mr. McCourt felt it necessary to publicize the content of a private meeting. It is even more unfortunate that Mr. McCourt’s public recitation was not accurate. Most fundamental, Commissioner Selig did not ‘veto’ a proposed transaction. Rather, Mr. McCourt was clearly told that the Commissioner would make no decision on any transaction until after his investigation into the Club and its finances is complete so that he can properly evaluate all of the facts and circumstances.
“Equally important, there has been no seizure of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Mr. Scheiffer has been appointed as a monitor, and a multi-page written directive from the Commissioner describing his role has been provided to Mr. McCourt. In our meeting, no one from the Dodgers asked a single, specific question about the terms of the document setting forth the monitor’s role.
“Finally, Mr. McCourt is well aware of the basis of Baseball’s investigation and has been provided an eight-page document describing the issues of concern to Major League Baseball.”
The proposed Dodgers television deal is not the first to be rejected by MLB. In early December of 2009, then Texas Rangers owner Tom Hicks began trying to get Fox Sports to engage in a television contract extension through Fox Sports Southwest. But, the league put the brakes on the deal as Hicks was trying to get Fox Sports to do the deal with a considerable amount of the TV deal seeing a large amount of upfront money tied to it. The key difference between Hicks and McCourt is that Hicks, through parent company Hicks Sports Group, was in default.
McCourt purchased the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004. According to court documents, by Sept of 2010 the club was $433 million in debt.
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