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DirecTV CEO Says He’s Seen “Immaterial” Sub Loss Without Dodgers Channel

By | Tuesday May 6, 2014 @ 12:10pm PDT

Doesn’t sound like DirecTV customers will see Los Angeles Dodgers games on Time Warner Cable‘s SportsNet LA any time soon. Dodgers SportsNetThe No. 2 cable company’s $8.35B, 25-year commitment for distribution rights was “an unprecedented deal above any rational view of the market” — especially considering baseball’s six-month season — DirecTV CEO Michael White told analysts in a conference call. “We’d still like to carry the Dodgers. We’re still having discussions with Time Warner Cable about it.” But he chafes at the price TWC wants, reportedly $4 per month direcTV__130523212608for each subscriber who receives the channel. “It’s a tax on most customers who wouldn’t pay it if they had a choice.” Last month TWC’s Rob Marcus said that the cable company is adding subs from Dodgers fans who can’t see SportsNet LA on any other pay TV service (except for closely allied Bright House). But White says DirecTV’s churn in LA has been “immaterial ….We’ll continue discussions and hope we can get to a sensible place.” The prices TWC still wants are “so far are beyond what a rational view of the market is.”

Related: LA Mayor Makes Plea For Resolution To Dodgers TV Dispute

White began the call declining to discuss the subject that most interests investors: stories in The Wall Street Journal and elsewhere reporting that he’s been approached by AT&T about a possible deal valued at $40B. “These reports are not based on official sources of information,” he said — a comment that falls far short of an outright denial. Read More »

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Time Warner Cable Chief Says Subs Coming Over For Dodgers Channel

Rob Marcus pitched a what-me-worry response to an analyst who asked him this morning about Time Warner Cable‘s inability to persuade other pay TV providers (aside from close ally Bright House) to carry SportsNet LA —  which the Dodgers own and TWC distributes.Dodgers SportsNet “The good news is the product is great,” the CEO says. “We have a first place baseball team and the production quality is outstanding….There are a whole lot of customers at twclogoTime Warner Cable who are happy” while others are “moving to Time Warner Cable” to watch the Dodgers. TWC is said to want other distributors to pay $4 per month for each subscriber — including those who don’t watch sports.  That would make SportsNet LA one of the country’s most expensive regional sports channels. TWC needs the high price to help it cover its $8.35B, 25-year commitment for the distribution rights.

Related: Time Warner Cable Q1 Earnings Beat Estimates

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Time Warner Cable, DirecTV In Stalemate Over Dodgers Channel

By | Friday April 4, 2014 @ 12:29pm PDT

SportsNet LA logoDirecTV subscribers apparently will not be watching any Dodgers games in the near future. Talks have broken down with the satellite TV provider and Time Warner Cable, which handles distribution of the MLB team’s new SportsNet LA channel, according to TWC.

Maureen Huff, Time Warner Cable vice president of public relations, told Deadline, “We can confirm that DirecTV has left the negotiating table. We were advised by their negotiating team that they would not counter our last proposal and that conversations were at an end. We are eager for all consumers in the Dodgers footprint to have access to SNLA and we hope that other providers will come on board quickly so that the frustrated DirecTV consumers have alternative options throughout the region.  We will continue to work tirelessly to make that happen. And, in the event that DirecTV would like to re-engage discussions, we stand at the ready to do so 24×7″. Read More »

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Time Warner Cable CEO Expects Last Minute Deals To Carry L.A. Dodgers

So far Time Warner Cable and closely allied Bright House Networks are the only pay TV distributors that have agreed to carry TWC’s new SportsNet LA which will feature the Dodgers. SportsNet LA logoBut TWC chief Rob Marcus says he isn’t worried: “Not surprisingly all of the action happens on the eve of opening day,” he told the Deutsche Bank Annual Media, Internet & Telecom Conference this morning. “It’s the typical game that occurs.” He assured investors, though, that TWC won’t have to shell out big bucks if others play by different rules. “Our license fee to the Dodgers is not driven by subscriber volume,” he says. The deal that TWC signed last year requires it to pay $8.5B over a 25 year period to offer the channel and handle distribution.

As you might expect, most of the questions Marcus fielded dealt with Comcast’s $45.2B plan to buy his company. He disputed the claim that the combination of the two largest cable companies would give Comcast too much leverage in negotiations with programmers. “I find that whole line to be ironic given the experience we’ve had over the last dozen years or so” — including the black eye TWC ended up with last year when it tangled with CBS in a carriage contract dispute. Some small cable operators worry that programmers that have to cut prices for Comcast will make up for Read More »

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Larry King Set To Host Dodgers Talk Show On Time Warner Cable’s New SportsNet LA

By | Tuesday February 25, 2014 @ 10:18pm PST

LarryKing_Dodgers__111130235443The longtime TV host and unapologetic Dodgers fan will host an hourlong talker on the LA-centric sports channel that launched Tuesday. SportsNet LA said Larry King At Bat will bow March 18, featuring interviews with baseball greats and experts, celebrities and Dodger folk. Larry King‘s premiere guest will be Orel Hershiser, who pitched the Dodgers to their most recent World Series victory in 1988 and is the newest member of the team’s announcing crew. SportsNet LA, which was announced 13 months ago, was born of the 25-year multibillion-dollar deal Time Warner Cable inked with the Dodgers for broadcast rights.

Related: Will Consumer Anger Over Sports TV Costs Boil Over In 2014?

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DirecTV CEO Vows To Resist Cable Concentration, And High Charges For Weather Channel And Dodgers

While he hasn’t decided whether to oppose the deal in Washington, DirecTV CEO Mike White says Comcast’s $42.5B pact to buy Time Warner Cable would result in “unprecedented media concentration in one company.” DirecTV Weather channelThe No. 1 satellite service provider is “still assessing some of the competitive implications” but White wants to “ensure it’s appropriately scrutinized” — especially the “effective broadband monopoly they might have in two-thirds of the country.” The owner of NBCUniversal also would have a lot of power to raise content prices. That “creates some significant changes in the competitive landscape that we have to think hard about.” Couldn’t Comcast use its clout, with 30M subs after a merger, to slow the rate of increase in programming costs? Perhaps, but “it’s a complicated dynamic because that leverage may not flow through to its competitors.”

White says he’ll continue to resist high programming costs.”None of our customers have an income like those of us on the call here.” He wouldn’t comment on the state of the carriage negotiations with The Weather Channel, which went dark on DirecTV in January, but says that his company “may have lost a few thousand customers in the first quarter” due to the dispute. “Fundamentally I continue to believe if your viewership goes down ….that should be reflected in the price.” Read More »

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Time Warner Cable Sued For Passing Lakers-Dodgers Costs On To Customers

By | Tuesday June 18, 2013 @ 5:51pm PDT

Time Warner Cable raised a lot of eyebrows when it paid $3B for TV rights to the LA Lakers for the next 20 years and then a record $8B for LA Dodgers rights for the next 25 years. When the Dodgers deal launches in 2014, the cable company will have four new networks for all that content. But the plan to partially pay for those new channels via boosting TWC customers’ fees — even from Southern California users who don’t want the channels and have no way to opt out of the bundles — apparently is not sitting well. Some of those customers filed a class action suit in LA Superior Court today targeting TWC, the Lakers and the Dodgers for restitution and injunctive relief for violating California Business & Professions Code 172000. The complaint (read it here) says unless restrained by the court, TWC will “pass these costs along to its total Southern California subscriber base, resulting, directly or indirectly, in additional fees passed onto subscribers beginning with the 2014 season of approximately $4-$5 per month per subscriber … which together add (or will if unrestrained) $100 per year to the subscriber’s TWC bill”. Read More »

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Will Gay Hoopster Revelation Drive Home Jamie Lee Curtis-Produced Pic About First Openly Gay Baseball Player?

By | Tuesday April 30, 2013 @ 11:59am PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Long before veteran hoops player Jason Collins made a groundbreaking announcement this week that he is a gay athlete, there was former Los Angeles Dodgers and Oakland A’s 70s phenom outfielder Glenn Burke. Burke, who right up front made his teammates and team management aware he was gay, back when this was really taboo. Post-retirement, he became the first baseball player to come out publicly, during a Today Show interview with Bryant Gumbel in 1982. Jamie Lee Curtis and JUMA Entertainment are hoping the attention being paid to Collins will provide momentum for a story she has been trying for years to tell about Burke, based on Out At Home: The Glenn Burke Story, the autobiography written by Burke with Erik Sherman.

Drafted by the Dodgers and touted as a potential star, Burke got off to a flying start when he became the only rookie to start in the 1977 World Series. Burke also took credit for inventing the high-five in 1977. Waiting on-deck at Dodger Stadium, he was first to congratulate teammate Dusty Baker with that up-high slap, after Baker hit his 30th home run in the last game of the season. While his adversity was nothing compared to what Dodger predecessor Jackie Robinson faced when he broke baseball’s color barrier, Burke’s decision to come out of the closet probably hastened his demise. In his autobiography, … Read More »

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Time Warner Cable Says It Makes The Best Of A Bad Situation With Sports, And Google

The No. 2 cable operator took it on the chin this morning after telling analysts in a conference call that rising programming costs and the lack of political ads will ding profits more than many expected. The stock is down 10% at mid-day. The disclosures inevitably led some to wonder whether Time Warner Cable contributed to its problems, at least in Southern California, by agreeing to pay hefty amounts to help create a regional sport channels that carries the Los Angeles Lakers and become a charter distributor for one for the Dodgers. CEO Glenn Britt says he had little choice. “We do not pretend that these deals are inexpensive or cheap,” he said. But sports is must-have programming, and the agreements “minimize and stabilize the cost over a long time period….In both cases these rights were up for auction and were going to be expensive no matter what happened.”

Related: Time Warner Cable Shares Fall After It Reports Mixed Q4 Performance

Execs say it’s too early to calculate the hit it will take in 2014 when the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA launches. The upshot, though, is that the vow Britt made last month to draw the line on rising programming costs will mostly affect small channels that few people watch — including Ovation, which the cable company ditched at year end. Britt renewed his commitment to “drop or re-position channels that don’t add to price-value.” Time Warner’s programming costs jumped 32% over the last four years, he says, while the Consumer Price Index rose 9%. Read More »

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LA Dodgers Plans Sports Channel With Time Warner Cable As Charter Distributor

By | Monday January 28, 2013 @ 6:09am PST

LOS ANGELES, (January 28, 2013) – The Los Angeles Dodgers ownership group created American Media Productions, LLC (AMP) in December 2012 to launch a new Los Angeles Dodgers regional sports network. Today, AMP announced its plans for SportsNet LA, the new regional television home for the Los Angeles Dodgers beginning with the 2014 Major League Baseball season. In addition to being the exclusive local home for all of the Dodger games, SportsNet LA will provide comprehensive behind-the-scenes Dodger programming, featuring more insights, analysis and commentary about the team than ever available before.

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EXCLUSIVE: Fox Closing In On Dodgers’ TV Rights; ‘We’re Out’ If Not Done By Nov. 30

By | Saturday November 24, 2012 @ 6:52pm PST

UPDATE: Not so fast. The deal didn’t get done and now Time Warner Cable is hot and heavy into the negotiating mix. Fox is pissed, to say the least.

EXCLUSIVE:  It seems strangely logical that the highest-priced sports team in the world is about to score the richest TV deal ever in pro sports history. Insiders tell me that Fox Sports is close to clinching the exclusive TV rights for the Los Angeles Dodgers by paying between $6 billion and $7 billion over 25 years to put the team on its regional sports network in Southern California and of course its national Fox Broadcasting Company. Fox already shows the games on its Prime Ticket local cable channel but also has Fox Sports West here.

The previous agreement expires at the end of next season, and saw Fox Sports paying only about $40 million per season for the Dodgers TV rights. There was speculation the final price would just go north of $150 million per season. This new deal soars to $280 million per season (the average for the life of the contract). The huge outlay by News Corp demonstrates the increasing value of sports to its bottom line, while the huge payday for Guggenheim offsets the record-setting $2.15 billion price paid for the Dodgers.

Related: Dodgers, Fox Sports Settle TV Rights Feud

But the sheer greed of Guggenheim’s ask on this new deal is staggering, especially when you consider it will all get passed down to the cable systems, advertisers, and ultimately consumers. The alternative for Guggenheim included higher ticket prices which would serve to only further alienate fans. Plus the new owners claim to need the money to bribe talented players to come to the mediocre Dodgers. And then there’s the sad fact that Major League Baseball teams are shifting from broadcast TV to cable networks – so fewer games will be available on free TV. Fox Sports expects to broadcast only one or two Major League Baseball games a week for the national audience next season.

Guggenheim and Fox Sports began preliminary talks in May. Then Fox Sports Media Group Co-President/COO Randy Freer enjoyed a 45-day exclusive negotiating window with Guggenheim Baseball Management’s Todd Boehly, the president of private equity firm Guggenheim Partners who was negotiating solo for the Dodgers owners. (Those owners also include former Los Angeles Lakers star turned mega-investor Magic Johnson, former Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals president Stan Kasten and Mandalay Entertainment CEO Peter Guber.) Those talks began October 15th and are set to expire on November 30th. My insiders think, barring any unforeseen obstacles, the Fox-Dodgers deal could clinch by Tuesday. If it doesn’t get done by the 30th deadline, Boehly will have blown the negotiations bigtime.

Related: Magic Johnson’s Group Wins Bidding To Buy Dodgers

I’m told a deal came “very close” to being done about a week ago “and then it went a little bit south”. To rattle Guggenheim’s cages, Fox Sports delivered an ultimatum that a deal had to be done by the end of this month or else it would stop negotiating. (Terms like “It’s dead” and “We’re out” were used.) The Fox Sports gambit worked. Because it would have left Guggenheim in a terrible situation without multiple bidders and with little leverage for next-in-line Time Warner Cable since CBS, Comcast/NBC, ABC/ESPN and even the MSG Network (controlled by the owners of Cablevision) never materialized. Of course, Guggenheim could have opted for the Dodgers to start its own network, as the Mets and Yankees have done. But big rewards come with big risks.

Also, in the middle of the run-up to negotiations in early October, Guggenheim’s Boehly bought Dick Clark Productions and put on the table a “programming element” involving Fox Broadcasting Network and DCP. Specifically, it called for DCP to have “more inventory” i.e. more shows airing on Fox Networks, sources tell me. I’m told the provision has been “in and out and in” the deal over recent weeks but appears to be ‘in’ right now.

Freer really knows this business – he ran the Fox regional sports networks for nearly half a decade - and knows not to overpay. He’s not when you consider that the Dodgers will play 162 games when the season starts in April. And yet TV rights to the Lakers who play 82 games just sold to Time Warner Cable for $3B over 20 years. And Fox just paid $3B for 49% of the YES Network which owns TV rights to the New York Yankees for 20 years. Read More »

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Fox Sports, LA Dodgers Discussing Potential $4B Cable Deal: Report

They can’t formally begin talks until Oct. 15, but Fox Sports and the Los Angeles Dodgers are said to have started preliminary discussions on a new cable pact. Last year, Fox and former Dodgers owner Frank McCourt struck a 20-year, $3B deal that included a provision giving the Dodgers 30% of the Fox Sports channel. But, Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig did not allow that pact to proceed. Citing a source familiar with the current talks, Reuters reports the renewal being discussed since May would “almost certainly exceed” the kiboshed deal and include joint ownership of English and Spanish language channels. According to the Reuters source, no financials have been discussed, but sports consultant Marc Ganis said the new deal could cost $4B or more. Fox and the Dodgers’ current deal expires at the end of next year. Read More »

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Game On? Time Warner Cable’s New L.A. Sports Networks Eye Dodgers Rights

Time Warner Cable is looking for other sports rights to add to its two new Southern California regional sports networks that are launching October 1 — and that now includes the lucrative local TV rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers. “We are hopeful that we will have an opportunity to speak with the new ownership,” TWC Sports president David Rone told Sports Business Daily. “Those are conversations we are interested in having and prepared to have.” It’s not a surprise that the new networks, Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Spanish-language Time Warner Cable Deportes, would seek to bid on those rights, but it marks one of the first open acknowledgments that they are ready to compete with current rightsholder Fox Sports for a long-term Dodgers deal that could be worth $3 billion or more. (The Dodgers were purchased in March for $2.15 billion, a record price for a U.S. sports franchise. Much of the team’s value is wrapped up in the next TV rights deal.) The RSNs showed that they will be a major player in the nation’s second-largest media market, plopping down serious cash in a 20-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. But now the networks need other content, and Rone said in the interview that they are seeking out other deals, including college sports rights. Read More »

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Time Warner Cable’s LA Sports Networks Get Names, Launch Date

Time Warner Cable SportsNet LaunchTime Warner Cable SportsNet and its Spanish-language sibling Time Warner Cable Deportes will launch October 1 as the exclusive home to the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers, Major League Soccer’s Time Warner Cable Deportes LaunchL.A. Galaxy and the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks. The regional sports networks’ names were unveiled today; at launch, they will show than 120 live sports events per year including local high school sports. “We are building Time Warner Cable SportsNet and Time Warner Cable Deportes from the ground up to be the new homes for Southern California sports fans,” Time Warner Cable Sports President David Rone said. “Our networks are created around live coverage of some of the region’s signature franchises and represent a 24/7 commitment to give fans more access and insight than they have ever seen before.” It will be the first time that all Lakers games will be on one network after TWC inked the team to a 20-year deal in February and announced the formation of the networks. Read More »

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Magic Johnson’s Group Wins Bidding To Buy Dodgers For Record $2B

By | Tuesday March 27, 2012 @ 9:01pm PDT

The bidding group is the last one standing after many Dodgers suitors came and went during the monthslong process, and the $2 billion deal is the richest ever for a U.S. sports franchise. The new owners — who emerged after three groups participated in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court auction today — are grouped under the banner Guggenheim Baseball Management. That mix includes Magic Johnson, Hollywood producer Peter Guber, baseball executive Stan Kasten and Bobby Patton as well as Todd Boehly and Mark Walter of Guggenheim Partners — that company co-owns Prometheus Global Media, which owns Billboard and The Hollywood Reporter. Walter will be controlling partner of the Dodgers when the deal closes at the end of April. The agreement with soon-to-be-ex-owner Frank McCourt is for the team and Dodger Stadium, and a separate joint venture with some members of the group — including McCourt — will buy the parking lots and property for an extra $150 million. That $2.15B total could be eclipsed by the local TV rights deal that’s sure to come after the sale is approved — the team could create its own regional sports network (a la the New York Yankees’ lucrative YES Network), shop the rights, or re-sign with current partner Fox Sports, which already had offered a long-term deal worth close to $3 billion.

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TV Sports & Money: Super Bowl Starts Watershed Year

By | Monday February 6, 2012 @ 10:27pm PST

Super Bowl XLVI Most Watched TV Program Ever

Sports television couldn’t have gotten off to a better start to the year than last night’s Super Bowl. NBC had the game, the most-watched event in TV history. A total of 111.3 million viewers tuned in to see the team from the nation’s largest media market win the championship in the nation’s most popular sport. As if anyone needed further proof, the New York Giants’ victory over the New England Patriots is the latest example of how important live sports is to broadcasters and the advertising industry that pays their bills. The leagues and the networks that show them know this better than ever, and watching how each exploits and benefits from this reality will make for a fun spectator sport in 2012 as they go head-to-head with the carriers who are increasingly blanching at the increasingly high fees sports-rich networks can and plan to command. In the middle and up for grabs is the biggest slice of what ZenithOptimedia estimates is $61.9 billion in expected TV ad spend this year, led by anticipation for the London Summer Olympics. Here’s a scorecard of the players to watch:

If the Super Bowl isn’t enough, the most powerful sports league flexed its muscle in December by inking a broadcast rights deal with NBC, CBS and Fox for a combined $27.5 billion over nine years — a whopping 63% increase over the previous contract. (ESPN and the NFL Network have a separate contract for cable.) The deal comes just in time for the networks and affiliates’ retransmission consent negotiations with cable and satellite providers and sets up a showdown over those fees – Miller Taback analyst David Joyce crunched the numbers and found that for all media partners to break even on the new contract, the average pay TV subscriber would have to pay an extra $11.23 a month, up $6.87 from the previous contract that ends after next season. It will be a serious fight. “Congress and the Federal Communications Commission need to throw a flag, because rules and regulations shouldn’t force consumers to bear the burden of broadcasters’ profligate spending, which will surely enrich NFL owners and players just as much as it will impoverish all pay-TV subscribers, particularly those who will never watch an NFL game,” American Cable Association CEO Matthew Polka said after the deal was announced. The new contract, struck in December, came after a labor lockout that threatened the start of the season and centered on how owners and players would split its revenue, including lucrative TV rights. In effect, the potential loss of games only proved how valuable the NFL is, much like the NBA’s own labor stoppage, which trimmed the season but it quickly re-upped with key advertisers and sponsors.

The Olympics
NBC bet big on the Olympics in June on the backs of new owner Comcast, blowing out rivals’ bids with a $4.38 billion move for a comprehensive rights deal through the 2020 Games. We’ll begin to figure out how smart that was right away: the network is prepping the London Summer Olympics for July and August. The all-in for Olympics programming is part of a bigger play by Comcast, which is setting itself up to compete with the likes of ESPN and Turner in the sports realm by rebranding its niche Versus channel the NBC Sports Network. Visions of ESPN’s $4.69-per-customer carriage fee are spurring the move — Versus took in $122.6 million in ad revenue last year, according to SNL Kagan, while ESPN took in $1.48 billion in ad sales and $5.27 billion in affiliate revenue. It’s a long-term play for sure, but Olympics coverage will plant NBC Sports Network’s flag in a bunch of new homes this summer, as eventually will new deals signed last year with the NHL (10 years, $2 billion; ESPN and Turner were in the race for that deal) and to a lesser extent Major League Soccer (three years, about $30 million). NBCUniversal and Comcast aren’t the only ones gunning for ESPN. Fox Sports in October beat out the sports giant for English-language rights to the next soccer World Cup contract in 2018 and 2022, in bidding that also saw NBCUniversal-owned Telemundo claim Spanish-language rights from Univision. Fox Sports and cable sibling FX also inked a multiyear deal with UFC, the mixed-martial arts league.
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Dodgers, Fox Sports Settle TV Rights Feud, Clearing Path For Sale Of Team

By | Tuesday January 10, 2012 @ 10:59pm PST

The Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox Sports late Tuesday settled their legal feud over the sale of the bankrupt team’s broadcast rights after the 2013 season. The Dodgers agreed to abide by their current contract with Fox and won’t attempt to auction future rights before Fox’s exclusive negotiating period ends November 30. In exchange, Fox agreed to drop litigation against the Dodgers. The settlement removes uncertainty and will allow the Dodgers to be sold by April 30 under a deal owner Frank McCourt previously reached with Major League Baseball. Initial bids are due January 23. Potential buyers include Joe Torre, LA area developer Rick Caruso, Orel Hershiser, Magic Johnson, Steve Garvey, Peter O’Malley, Fred Claire, Andy Dolich, Steve Cohen of the hedge fund SAC Capital Advisors, Stan Kasten, Guggenheim Partners CEO Mark Walter, Larry King, Jason Reese of Imperial Capital and the family of the late Roy E. Disney.

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Joe Torre Throws Baseball Hat Into Ring To Bid For Los Angeles Dodgers

By | Wednesday January 4, 2012 @ 10:37am PST

Joe Torre, the former Los Angeles Dodgers manager who last year moved into Major League Baseball’s front office, stepped down from his executive post today and announced he was joining LA developer Rick Caruso to bid on the Los Angeles Dodgers. The team is being sold by current owner Frank McCourt as part of a bankruptcy settlement with MLB that included the early auctioning of the team’s local TV rights, which could fetch as much as $3 billion. Forbes estimates the franchise is worth around $800 million, and some believe any sale would  eclipse the record price for a baseball franchise, set a couple of years ago with the Chicago Cubs’ $845 million tab. Caruso is the man behind The Grove complex adjacent to the LA Farmers Market among other real estate holdings. And Torre has done a little bit of everything in the sport: winning an MVP as a player, winning multiple World Series as manager of the New York Yankees, and a long stint as a broadcaster in between. He was EVP Baseball Operations at MLB before deciding to join Caruso. Read More »

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Fox Sports Wins Round Against The Dodgers

By | Friday December 23, 2011 @ 2:30pm PST

Fox Sports has won a temporary stay that bars the Los Angeles Dodgers from shopping broadcasting rights to new bidders until a judge considers the network’s appeal of the federal bankruptcy court ruling in favor of the team. Federal Judge Leonard P. Stark ruled today in Delaware that Fox Sports has a “strong likelihood of success” on its appeal of the U.S. Bankruptcy Court ruling. Fox Sports’ current contract precludes the Dodgers shopping the rights until October 2012. Because the Dodgers are in bankruptcy, the bankruptcy court judge said that condition was unenforceable. The appeals court judge disagreed and granted a stay until he decides Fox’s appeal.

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