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Volume 21 No. 1
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Forty Under 40

Major League Baseball had its share of record-breaking transactions in 2012, including the $2.15 billion sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers and the set of national TV deals the league secured with ESPN, Fox and TBS for a combined $12.4 billion, more than double the prior pacts.

Christopher Brumm, the league’s senior counsel, was a key fixture in each of those agreements, at several points helping to keep the deals from collapsing altogether. In the fractious Dodgers battle in particular, Brumm was part of the MLB team that negotiated the settlement with former team owner Frank McCourt, establishing the league’s legal strategy in the frequently shifting case and working to maintain baseball’s rights to select its own owners.

Brumm served in a similar role in the Texas Rangers’ bankruptcy case in 2010, a situation that while not as dramatic as the Dodgers’ case also presented significant risk to the league.

“Once you enter bankruptcy, it’s an entirely different world,” said Brumm, who worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison prior to joining MLB in 2007. “The big thing for us was to make sure the court still recognized the rights of the league, and those thankfully were retained in each instance. The constant theme running through these various cases was to protect the basic rights of the MLB constitution, particularly with regard to choosing owners. We were finally able to get to a good place there, and obviously the Dodgers’ sale price itself was a very healthy, surprisingly high number.”

The TV deals similarly presented layers of complexity, with each rights holder having different financial and operational issues, and each wanting to navigate the emerging landscape of TV Everywhere.

“There were definitely new issues here in the TV deals, which made for a very interesting set of challenges,” Brumm said. “We’re all working to sort of predict the future together, and working along with MLB Advanced Media, these deals were able to include additional digital rights.”

— Eric Fisher

Age: 39
Title: Senior counsel
Education: B.A., Haverford College; J.D., University of Michigan Law School
Family: Wife, Sarah
Career: Prior to MLB, worked at Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP (2001-07); gained senior counsel role at MLB in 2011

How do you strike a work-life balance? Weekend getaways
Best business advice received: The more difficult something is, the more rewarding it is in the end.

Worst advice received: Have another doughnut!
IPOD PLAYLIST: The National; Bob Dylan; MGMT; Zac Brown Band
Favorite iPad apps: Drop7; Super Stickman Golf; At Bat
Pet peeve: People who walk too slow
Guilty pleasure: Sno-Caps
FANTASY JOB: Architect or marine biologist
Favorite movie line: “In the court ruling U.S. vs. Fishbine, a man subjected to potential incineration while wearing another man’s suit is entitled to $10,000 worth of airline tickets. It’s an obscure ruling, but a very important one to me.” (“Fletch”)