SBD/April 27, 2011/Franchises

Frank McCourt Meeting With MLB Execs To Discuss League's Takeover Of Dodgers

McCourt will try to persuade MLB execs to approve TV contract with Fox

Dodgers owner Frank McCourt is scheduled to meet today with MLB execs in N.Y. as the embattled executive seeks to get further clarity on the league's takeover last week of club business operations, Monday's appointment of Tom Schieffer as club monitor, and Commissioner Bud Selig's refusal to approve a pending media rights deal with Fox that McCourt says will alleviate his financial distress. McCourt requested the meeting, industry sources said. But Selig will not be present as the commissioner continues to keep his distance from McCourt, in part due to legal reasons and concern over a potential lawsuit from McCourt. MLB Exec VP/Labor Relations & HR Rob Manfred and league officials and lawyers instead will be involved with the meeting, which could help determine whether McCourt challenges the league's seizure of team operations (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).

TALKING POINTS: In L.A., Bill Shaikin reports McCourt is meeting with MLB officials "primarily to make one last pitch for approval of a television contract with Fox that would serve as his financial lifeline." The tentative Fox deal, valued at close to $3B by the Dodgers and closer to $1.7B by league officials, "has been with Selig for three weeks." Fox has indicated that the "proposed deal with McCourt would be available for any new Dodgers owner." Selig was "angered that Fox extended McCourt a personal loan to meet ... payroll obligations, and for now Fox has left McCourt to fight his own fight." FSN VP/PR Chris Bellitti: "This is an issue between the Dodgers and Major League Baseball." An MLB exec said that he is "convinced nothing McCourt might say could sway Selig from moving toward new ownership of the Dodgers." The exec said, "I've never seen him more determined." In today's meeting, McCourt also "plans to ask exactly what Schieffer has been asked to do, and whether McCourt would have any significant role or authority during Schieffer's tenure." McCourt is expected to be joined by Dodgers Vice Chair Steve Soboroff and his "two must trusted financial advisers," Jeff Ingram and Peter Wilhelm (L.A. TIMES, 4/27). A source close to McCourt denied a report that the agreement with Fox is "closer to $1.6 billion" than the $3B some have suggested (, 4/26).

WE MUST PROTECT THIS HOUSE: In L.A., Hernandez & Blankstein report the Dodgers have chosen former LAPD Capt. Rich Wemmer as the team's Security Chief, but are "awaiting approval before they can finalize his hiring." The Dodgers' top security position "has been vacant for four months and publicly became an issue when a San Francisco Giants fan was attacked and critically injured in the Dodger Stadium parking lot on opening day." Law enforcement officials indicated that the Dodgers selected Wemmer, a onetime clubhouse attendant for the club, "after approaching numerous former LAPD command staffers and being turned down" (L.A. TIMES, 4/27).

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