It was said earlier today that Frank McCourt might be close to a bankruptcy settlement with MLB that would allow the Los Angeles Dodgers to be sold. Now Bill Shaikin of the LA Times is reporting that Frank McCourt has agreed to allow for a bankruptcy court auction of the team:
McCourt and Major League Baseball have agreed to seek approval from the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for an auction of the Dodgers. The sale is expected to include the team, Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots, a package bought by McCourt for $421 million in 2004 and likely to sell for two to three times as much now.
The hope is to get the deal done in the offseason. McCourt first took the team into bankruptcy in June, so it’s surprising that there’s been such a sudden turn of events.
MLB and the Dodgers released a joint statement confirming the news:
"The Los Angeles Dodgers and Major League Baseball announced that they have agreed today to a court supervised process to sell the team and its attendant media rights in a manner designed to realize maximum value for the Dodgers and their owner, Frank McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale process."
The sale of the Dodgers' television rights has been a contentious point in the bankruptcy proceedings, with McCourt claiming MLB was unfairly holding up a deal between the Dodgers and Fox Sports for the broadcast rights. According to the statement, McCourt would be able to sell the TV rights as part of his sale of the team.
The situation would be similar to what the Texas Rangers went through before the 2010 season. However, in that case Mark Cuban was the highest bidder, but MLB chose to grant the Rangers to a Nolan Ryan led group. If the McCourts have a true bankruptcy auction, they’ll have to sell to the highest bidder.
Mark Cuban has been floated as a potential buyer for the LA Doders. Whether he makes a bid is up to him. Whoever the next owner is, they’ll be the third since Peter O’Malley sold in 1998.