The legal dispute between FOX Sports and the Dodgers over media rights has been settled in a Delaware bankruptcy court. The Dodgers had been looking to put the media rights for the Dodgers up for sale ahead of the expiration of the current agreement the LA club has with FOX. That contract has FOX having the rights to bid first as early as Nov. of this year, and does not allow for other broadcasters to negotiate for those rights until early 2013. Dodgers owner Frank McCourt argued that by adding in the media rights now as part of the sale of the club, more money would be secured for creditors as part of the sale, set to occur before April.
“The agreement with Fox clears the path for the Dodgers to sell the team on schedule and to maximize the value of the debtors’ estate,” said Sid Levinson, and attorney for the Dodgers to bankruptcy judge, Kevin Gross.
The case had large implications to the broadcast industry. Ostensibly, a ruling in the Dodgers’ favor would set a precedence by which other broadcast deals could be nullified in advance of expiration if a sports club were to enter bankruptcy.
But, that was likely to not be the case. While Judge Gross ruled in favor of the Dodgers, an appeals judge noted at hearing that Gross had erred in his decision, thus setting the stage for a reversal. The settlement was the outcome of that looming over the case.
The sale, which sees a star studded collection of bidders from groups with Magic Johnson, Mark Cuban, Joe Torre, Steve Garvey, Fred Claire, and others, could fetch in excess of $1.2 billion. The amount of cash in the deal will weigh heavily in the court’s decision as it allows the creditors to be quickly paid.
Maury Brown is the Founder and President of the Business of Sports Network, which includes The Biz of Baseball, The Biz of Football, The Biz of Basketball and The Biz of Hockey. He writes for Baseball Prospectus and is a contributor to Forbes SportsMoney blog.. He is available as a freelance writer. Brown's full bio is here. He looks forward to your comments via email and can be contacted through the Business of Sports Network (select his name in the dropdown provided).
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