SBD/September 19, 2011/Franchises

Dodgers File Motion To Hire PR Firm To Represent Team During Bankruptcy Proceedings

Dodgers may look to add punch to their lineup this offseason
The Dodgers late Friday filed a motion to hire N.Y.-based PR firm Kekst & Co. to aid with corporate communications during the bankruptcy process. Kekst also represented former MLB Rangers Owner Tom Hicks during that club's recent stint in bankruptcy. The Dodgers called the retention of the firm an important part of its reorganization efforts. The filing states, "Much of the media reporting on off-field issues has been inaccurate or misleading, and [the Dodgers] require a seasoned communications firm such as Kekst to better ensure coverage is more evenhanded and accurate." There are no listed examples in the filing of media coverage with which the Dodgers have found fault. The two proposed account reps from Kekst that would be assigned to the club, Robert Siegfried and Lyndsey Esten, have rates of $750 per hour and $400 per hour, respectively (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). The Dodgers in the filing stated, "It is self evident that the financial success of the Dodgers depends heavily on the goodwill of its fan base. This is true not only for revenues that are derived from attendance at games, but also for ratings on its television and radio broadcasts and in the sale of its merchandise. The ability to derive revenues from all of those sources is impacted heavily by media coverage of the team, as best evidenced by the decline in attendance, which many attribute to the negative publicity surrounding the team" (LATIMES.com, 9/16).

HOT STOVE: In L.A., Steve Dilbeck noted Dodgers GM Ned Colletti has said that he "hasn't been told by McCourt yet what kind of budget he'll have in the offseason, though that's standard operating procedure for this time of year." The team's offense "is the one area everyone agrees the Dodgers need to focus on improving." Cardinals 1B Albert Pujols and Brewers 1B Prince Fielder are the "only two big bats scheduled for free agency" this winter, and Dilbeck noted both "will be looking at a $100 million-plus contract." McCourt has "never spent $100 million on a single player, and that's when he wasn't in bankruptcy court." The Dodgers have "at least $25 million coming off the books this offseason, so the possibility of signing a Pujols or Fielder isn't completely ridiculous." But "even if they were to make a run at them, there certainly is no guarantee that they'd return the interest" (LATIMES.com, 9/17).
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