SBD/May 12, 2011/Franchises

Selig, McCourt Hold First Face-To-Face Discussion Since MLB's Dodgers Takeover

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig and Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt, each in N.Y. for quarterly league owners' meetings, held their first face-to-face discussion since MLB took over operations of the embattled franchise three weeks ago, according to several industry sources. There was no immediate word last night as to the full substance and outcome of the conference. McCourt declined comment upon leaving MLB HQs yesterday afternoon. But the session was nonetheless significant as Selig in recent weeks has refused to meet with McCourt, in part due to legal reasons amid a potential challenge from McCourt to the league takeover. McCourt likely continued to plead his case for MLB approval of a pending media rights deal with Fox that he claims will relieve the club's financial woes. McCourt's recent contact with league officials during the ongoing saga surrounding the franchise has been through other senior league execs, including Exec VP/Labor Relations & HR Rob Manfred and Exec VP/Administration & CIO John McHale Jr. McCourt participated in other committee sessions yesterday as he would ordinarily, including a session of the ownership committee of which he is part (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). Selig yesterday "briefed the owners' executive council on the Dodgers' situation, including his investigation of the team's finances and the possible litigation McCourt might initiate" against MLB. Selig is scheduled to speak with reporters today (L.A. TIMES, 5/12).

READY TO LAUNCH: Astros Owner Drayton McLane said yesterday he is in the "final stages" of completing a reported $680M deal with Jim Crane to sell the franchise. While not quite as far along as some recent Houston-area media reports have suggested, McLane said the deal could be done in one to two weeks. Crane then likely would be presented for approval by MLB owners at quarterly owners' meetings this August in Cooperstown, N.Y. "I think we're close. It's a matter of finalizing things," McLane said. "It's very complicated. There's an RSN involved we're preparing to launch next year. But we're close" (Fisher).
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Franchises, Los Angeles Dodgers, MLB

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