Fox Sports is calling for the dismissal of the Dodgers bankruptcy case and the Dodgers are suing Fox Sports news in the latest twist in a sports team Chapter 11 bankruptcy that continues to become more brutal by the week. The last twist in the bankruptcy drama had MLB commissioner Selig agreeing to allow McCourt to sell the media rights to the baseball team. However, Fox Sports (owned by NewsCorp) isn’t happy with the decision, which according to them, violates their exclusive media rights agreement.
Selling the media rights is expected to enhance the value of the team ahead of a sale and ultimately put more money in McCourt’s pocket.
While that agreement settled one legal battle, it opened a new one pitting the team against Fox, which broadcasts Dodgers games. In order to sell the media rights to games beginning in 2014, the team plans to alter an exclusive negotiating period with Fox, which operates as Prime Ticket.
The broadcaster opposes those changes, saying in a court filing late Wednesday that they are being done “to transfer additional economic value from Prime Ticket to McCourt.”
Fox has also accused the team of contacting other potential bidders for the media rights, violating Fox’s exclusive negotiating right.
But for their part, the Dodgers insist that they have not begun looking for additional bidders. The current plan is to gain the bankruptcy court’s approval for altering the Fox Sports agreement and seeking competing bidders. If approved, the Dodgers will negotiate media rights with Fox Sports for 45 days; but if no agreement is reached they will have the right to seek bids from other media companies. The bad news for Fox Sports is that they will probably need to shell out additional cash if they want to keep their right to broadcast Dodgers games.