SBD/June 22, 2011/Franchises

McCourt Vows To Control Dodger Stadium, Other Assets If MLB Forces Sale

MLB believes McCourt does not have right to retain Dodger Stadium, other assets
Frank McCourt threw a "brushback pitch at Major League Baseball on Tuesday, the day after Commissioner Bud Selig vetoed the television contract that would have provided the Dodgers' owner with a financial lifeline," according to Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. McCourt vowed to "retain Dodger Stadium and related assets even if he loses the team." Bob Sacks, an attorney for McCourt, said that if Selig were to "strip McCourt of the Dodgers and order the team sold," the deal would "not include those related entities." That contention is "hotly disputed by the commissioner's office." The Dodgers had $286M in revenue in '09, according to court documents, and a source said that a new Dodgers owner "would owe McCourt about $21 million in annual land use payments and an undisclosed share of ticket revenue." Selig's office, however, "does not believe McCourt has the right to retain those assets, citing the owner's signature on agreements consenting those related entities would be 'subject to the terms and conditions of all Major League Baseball governing documents.'" Shaikin notes if McCourt "fails to meet the Dodgers' June 30 payroll, an event that appears likely, Selig could seize the team and put it up for sale." Sacks said that his client is "evaluating his options after Selig's rejection of the proposed television contract with Fox, including a lawsuit against the commissioner and a bankruptcy filing." But he added that McCourt "would much prefer to settle the matter with Selig in person." Sacks: "Frank does not want to fight the commissioner in court. It is not in the best interest of anybody" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22). Sacks added, "There seems to be a predetermined result to drive Frank out of baseball without a good faith basis. This isn't going to go away quietly" (AP, 6/21).

GUESS WHO'S BACK? Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban during an interview with yesterday said that he "isn't sure he would be interested in purchasing the Dodgers" because of what McCourt "might have done to the franchise." Cuban: "I have an interest in Major League Baseball for the right deal. But it's just such a mess, right? I can't imagine that it's not going to be such a mess that it's (not) going to make it hard to turn around." Still, Cuban added, "If the deal is right and they're fixable, then, yeah, I'm very interested" (L.A. TIMES, 6/22).
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