Tuesday, November 8, 2011
Fox can object if Dodgers sell TV rights
A federal bankruptcy judge says Fox will have a chance to challenge the Los Angeles Dodgers if the team attempts to sell future television rights along with the franchise.
Fox's Prime Ticket subsidiary, part of Rupert Murdoch's News Corp., holds the team's broadcast rights through the 2013 season and has the exclusive rights of first negotiation from October-November 2012 for a successor agreement.
As part of his bankruptcy case, Dodgers owner Frank McCourt said he wanted to auction future broadcast rights. McCourt agreed last week with Major League Baseball that he will attempt to sell the franchise. It's unclear whether he will attempt to sell the future media rights as part of a sale.
Fox Sports Net West, the corporate name of Prime Ticket, sued the Dodgers on Sept. 27.
"We fully support a change in ownership of the Dodgers," Fox spokesman Chris Bellitti said in an email Tuesday after a hearing in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. "In that process, Fox has rights that cannot be violated, as MLB has previously stated. Those rights were negotiated and paid for by us and approved by MLB. We will take all necessary steps to aggressively protect and defend those rights, as our still-pending lawsuit suggests."
The Dodgers and Major League Baseball have not filed their agreement with U.S. bankruptcy judge Kevin Gross.