SBD/July 14, 2011/Franchises

MLBPA, Local Radio Station Appointed To Creditors Committee In Dodgers Case

A five-member committee of unsecured creditors has been established in the ongoing Dodgers bankruptcy case, a panel that includes the MLBPA, radio rightsholder KABC-AM, and the parents of Bryan Stow, the Giants fan severely beaten at Dodger Stadium on Opening Day. The other two entities are Pyro Events, Inc. and AVM Systems Limited Partnership, representing vendors. The committee represents all unsecured creditors in the Dodgers case, as a result giving the five entities a significant voice in the eventual outcome. Current and former Dodgers players, most notably former LF Manny Ramirez, make up the majority of the club’s largest unsecured creditors. MLBPA Exec Dir Michael Weiner said in Phoenix on Tuesday the union will be heavily involved in the Dodgers case, are “more than concerned” about the club’s ability to compete, and want the team to return to flagship status for the league (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In L.A., Bill Shaikin notes the Dodgers “do not currently owe Stow any money, but his family has sued the team over the stadium parking lot beating in which he was critically injured.” The Dodgers' bankruptcy filing indicated that the Dodgers “owe KABC $273,321” (L.A. TIMES, 7/14). The WALL STREET JOURNAL’s Eric Morath notes creditor committees “often wield influence in bankruptcy cases, so the union’s spot among the five members could give the players some say over a plan for the Dodgers to reorganize their debts or over a possible sale of the team.” The MLBPA “gains a key seat at the negotiating table that it didn’t have in” the Rangers' Chapter 11 case last year (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 7/14).

SURVEY SAYS: ESPN L.A.’s Enrique Rojas noted an informal survey taken on Tuesday at Chase Field prior to the All-Star Game showed Mavericks Owner Mark Cuban “would be more than welcome as the owner” of an MLB franchise. Dodgers RF Andre Ethier said, “It would be fine; I think he would be more than welcome to baseball.” Mets RF Carlos Beltran said, “It would be positive for baseball. He has a lot of passion. He’s a guy that has shown that he is willing to do everything he can to win” (ESPNLA.com, 7/13).

NO ESCAPING TEAM'S ISSUES: Cuban, who has been mentioned as a possible buyer should current Owner Frank McCourt put the Dodgers up for sale, sat with actors Jason Bateman and Ryan Reynolds during the pre-show for last night's ESPY Awards, and the team's status came up in conversation. Bateman, a Dodgers fan, said, “If we had an owner as incredible as Mark, we’d really have something. ... I don’t know Frank McCourt, but there’s a large distance between what you do and what Mr. McCourt’s done for us, I suppose. I think there might be something for sale.” Cuban replied, "It’ll be interesting to see what happens if and when it does come up for sale.” Bateman and Reynolds are co-starring in the upcoming release “The Change-Up,” and Bateman said if it does well at the box office, the two of them and Cuban “might be able to make a bid” for the Dodgers. Reynolds: “0.01% ownership? Just in the hot dog side of it all, the Dodger Dog?” Cuban: “Hey, your net worth’s already more than the people who own it now, so you’re okay” ("2011 ESPY Awards," ESPN, 7/13).

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Los Angeles Dodgers, Franchises

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