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SBD/November 22, 2011/Franchises
Dodgers, Fox Sports Net Head To Mediation To Resolve TV Rights Dispute
Published November 22, 2011
The ongoing cable TV rights dispute between Fox Sports Net and the Dodgers has been assigned to a mediator by Judge Kevin Gross of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware. Gross, overseeing the ongoing Dodgers bankruptcy case, appointed Joseph Farnan, a retired U.S. District Court judge, to run mediation efforts in the heightening dispute between the club and FSN. Farnan helped broker a settlement earlier this month between the Dodgers and MLB, with that deal calling for Owner Frank McCourt to sell the team and related assets. The latest mediation efforts are set to begin Nov. 28 and will remain confidential. MLB is not formally involved in the process, or in the larger FSN-Dodgers dispute. But league Commissioner Bud Selig was instructed in Gross' order yesterday to be "readily available" by telephone. Competing lawsuits from FSN and the Dodgers against each other have been stayed pending the outcome of the mediation (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal).OWNER'S MANUAL: In L.A., Helene Elliott notes if "all goes according to the terms of a settlement between" MLB and McCourt, the Dodgers "will be sold in the next several months." Elliott wonders, "Will this person or corporation have the passion and resources to restore the Dodgers' good name? Or will the new owner seek fame or real-estate riches and make only cosmetic fixes to the image McCourt tarnished?" New ownership "can bring positive changes, but -- as with Fox's sale to McCourt -- things can sometimes go sour." Univ. of Pennsylvania Wharton Sports Business Initiative Associate Dir Scott Rosner "divides owners into two categories." Rosner said profit maximizers "are in it for the operating profit and the capital appreciation and some combination thereof." By contrast, "utility maximizers buy teams for ego or to network with power brokers and boost their other businesses" (L.A. TIMES, 11/22).