Frank McCourt Took $30M Loan From Fox To Meet Dodgers' Payroll Obligations Last Week
Dodgers Owner Frank McCourt "took a $30-million loan from Fox to meet the Dodgers' payroll obligations last week," according to sources cited by Bill Shaikin of the L.A. TIMES. It is "unclear what McCourt pledged as collateral" for the loan, which is "expected to cover the Dodgers' expenses into next month." MLB Commissioner Bud Selig "has yet to say whether he will approve a proposed television contract between Fox and the Dodgers, which McCourt has presented as a long-term solution to the team's financial troubles." The loan marks the "second time since the end of last season that Fox has provided money to the Dodgers owner so he could cover expenses." Sources said that the loan was "furnished to McCourt personally rather than to the debt-strapped Dodgers, so the arrangement did not require Selig's approval." It is "uncertain how long the Dodgers can operate with short-term financial assistance from Fox, or whether McCourt can obtain financing from another source." It also is "uncertain whether Selig plans to accept or reject the proposed long-term television deal before payroll comes due in May" (L.A. TIMES, 4/17). ESPN.com's Buster Olney wrote the Dodgers' financial problems "could soon reach a tipping point." A high-ranking exec noted that the "times of stress for any club in debt are the second and fourth week of the season, when payroll obligations must be met" (ESPN.com, 4/16).
SECURITY CHECK: The L.A. TIMES' Shaikin reported Selig last week "dispatched a task force to Dodger Stadium to review security procedures there ... with the Dodgers playing their first homestand since the attack" on a Giants fan on Opening Day. MLB Exec VP/Administration John McHale was the "leader of a six-man delegation" that was scheduled to remain on site "through the weekend and report back to Selig." The delegation included MLB experts "in security and stadium operations." McHale said that he met Thursday with former L.A. Police Chief William Bratton and McCourt and "spoke several times with Selig." McHale said that Selig is "not interested in usurping the role of Bratton or the LAPD." McHale added that he and other MLB officials "had met with Selig 'on a daily basis' since the attack." McHale also said that it is "important that the Dodgers promptly hire a full-time head of security, a position that has been vacant for four months" (L.A. TIMES, 4/16). In N.Y., Gerard Wright noted the "slowly advancing tide of Dodger Blue" outside Dodger Stadium before Thursday's Cardinals-Dodgers game was "laced with currents of a darker shade, officers from the Los Angeles Police Department, ubiquitous on foot, horseback, mountain bicycles and motorcycle, with at least as many inside." This was L.A. Police Chief Charlie Beck's "promised 'sea of blue' response to the assault and crowd aggravation, paid for by the Dodgers and possibly overkill for a stadium with an announced attendance of 34,288" (N.Y. TIMES, 4/16).