MLB Commissioner Bud Selig has rejcted a proposed deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports.
Commissioner Bud Selig informed Dodgers owner Frank McCourt on Monday that he would not approve a lengthy extension to a media rights deal between the ballclub and FOX, placing his ownership of the historic franchise in jeopardy.
Selig said he'd given the contract -- reported to be as high as $3 billion with a sizeable upfront payment -- a great deal of consideration, but in the end it didn't conform with the best interest of the ballclub or Dodger fans.
"Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt," Selig said. "Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans."
Selig can do this within his authority based on the debt-service rule, which doesn't allow franchises to borrow on future assets in order to pay current bills. Under the rule, owners must sell equity in the team to raise revenue, decrease spending or both.We're one step closer to Franks departure.
Major League Baseball took over the day-to-day business operations of the Dodgers this spring and has been investigating its finances. That report is due by the end of the month. At that point, Selig will determine whether McCourt must sell the team.
Last week, McCourt and his ex-wife, Jamie, reached an agreement out of court, which was contingent upon Major League Baseball's approval of the between the Dodgers and FOX. With Monday's ruling by Selig, that agreement is null and void and must now go back to divorce court in Los Angeles.
McCourt repeatedly has said that he needs the upfront payment from the TV deal to pay his bills. A payroll of $30 million that includes $8 million in deferred payments to ex-Dodger Manny Ramirez is due by the end of the month.
Selig said that he's sent McCourt a letter on Monday that detailed the reasons why he could not improve the media deal.
"Mr. McCourt has been provided with an expansive analysis of my reasons for rejecting this proposed transaction," Selig said. ""As I have said before, we owe it to the legion of loyal Dodger fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future. This transaction would not accomplish these goals."