When MLB commissioner Bud Selig rejected the Dodgers' proposed multi-billion dollar television contract with Fox on Monday, the stage was set for a potential showdown with Selig and Frank McCourt. With McCourt reportedly unable to make payroll on June 30, MLB will likely step in and seize control of the Dodgers. The question remains, however, just what does that entail?
McCourt seems ready for a fight. "There is the possibility of some fairly acrimonious and extreme litigation going forward, which Frank is hopeful will not occur," attorney Bob Sacks told Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times on Tuesday. "If baseball were to act precipitously against Frank, which has been threatened, then there will be a showdown on that issue."
At issue is potentially millions of dollars of revenue each year in tickets and parking that McCourt claims he would still control even if no longer owner of the Dodgers. Josh Fisher has been covering the McCourts for nearly two years at Dodger Divorce, and summarizes Frank's position as so:
The takeaway: Frank is essentially painting a picture that baseball, should it take over the Dodgers, would not have access to very significant revenue streams. The rest of baseball's owners would be footing a great load of the bills. A new owner, purchasing the Dodgers at some sort of forced sale, would have to also buy out Frank's contractual relationships above or run the franchise without them.
However, as Shaikin notes, the MLB constitution gives the commissioner wide-ranging authority which MLB believes includes the tickets and parking. "We are confident in our legal position that the multitude of legal assets created by Mr. McCourt that hold club assets are bound by the major league constitution," said MLB executive vice president Rob Manfred. One thing appears certain: both sides are digging in their heels, and a fight seems inevitable.
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