Last week, Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt agreed to a plan for a divorce settlement that would have given Frank McCourt sole ownership of the franchise — if Major League Baseball approved a lucrative TV deal that McCourt struck with Fox. That multiyear deal worth $3 billion (and, more importantly, $385 million upfront) would help McCourt shore up the Dodgers, who right now are being controlled by the league during all of this divorce mess. Well, baseball commissioner Bud Selig always seemed reluctant to OK the Fox contract, and today Selig made it official by rejecting the deal, saying in part that “the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt.” Ouch. Under terms of the divorce plan, it means the Dodgers are one step closer to being sold off — the assets would be split 50-50 between Frank and Jamie — unless Frank can find some other way to get a massive amount of money together to play his players’ monthly salaries and restore the league’s faith in him as an owner. Here’s Selig’s statement:
Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt were in an LA courtroom today saying they have agreed to a divorce settlement that could potentially take the team out of ownership limbo. But as usual in this case it doesn’t come without a big question mark. According to the LA Times, the deal hinges on Major League Baseball approving Frank McCourt’s multiyear TV deal with Fox that is worth as much as $3 billion, cash that would allow him to meet his team’s payroll obligations and give him the stability to retake financial control of the franchise, which right now is being handled by the league during all of this mess. The Fox deal calls for a $385 million upfront loan to McCourt to handle the Dodgers’ immediate money problems, Bloomberg reports. Here’s the problem, though: the league is hesitant to approve any TV contract in case the Dodgers need to be sold as part of a community property divorce settlement, worried any TV deal signed to now could be undervalued for the new owners. Frank McCourt has said that the league is stalling on purpose to force him out.