Dodgers Owner Files Bankruptcy To Fend Off MLB

The back side of the right-field scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. i i

The back side of the right-field scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Reed Saxon/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Reed Saxon/AP
The back side of the right-field scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The back side of the right-field scoreboard at Dodger Stadium, home of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Reed Saxon/AP

The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Major League Baseball recently nixed a TV deal for the Dodgers that team owner Frank McCourt said would provide financial stability for the team. The bankruptcy filing appears to be a last-ditch effort by McCourt to keep the MLB from seizing the Dodgers — one of the most storied teams in sports.

Owner: MLB Forced Us To This Point

The official filing says McCourt has secured a commitment of $150 million in financing that will allow the Dodgers to continue to operate normally — all salaries paid, continued employee benefits and no rise in ticket prices.

A statement released on behalf of McCourt fires his latest salvo at baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, who turned down McCourt's proposed TV deal with Fox because it included $173 million diverted to McCourt, his wife, Jamie, and their attorneys. The McCourts have been involved in a nasty and expensive divorce.

Los Angeles Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt speaks to the media outside court in Los Angeles earlier this month. McCourt cited Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing. i i

Los Angeles Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt speaks to the media outside court in Los Angeles earlier this month. McCourt cited Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

itoggle caption Nick Ut/AP
Los Angeles Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt speaks to the media outside court in Los Angeles earlier this month. McCourt cited Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing.

Los Angeles Dodgers' owner Frank McCourt speaks to the media outside court in Los Angeles earlier this month. McCourt cited Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig's interference with club operations and refusal to approve a Dodgers TV deal with Fox Sports as the cause for Monday's bankruptcy filing.

Nick Ut/AP

In the statement, McCourt says of Selig, "He's turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us different, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today."

'Nail In The Coffin'

That point is one of desperation, according to Marc Ganis, a sports business expert who runs SportsCorp Ltd.

"The formal rejection of the Fox Network deal was a nail in the coffin," Ganis says. "And he's trying to do everything he possibly can to hold on to the team; this is likely to meet with the same lack of success all his other moves have had."

Bankruptcy court is a venue where decisions can supersede the baseball commissioner's authority, but Ganis says McCourt's attempt to avoid Selig may not work.

"The bankruptcy court has every ability, by the motions that I expect baseball will file, to remove it out of bankruptcy court and turn it over to Major League Baseball," he says.

A baseball official said Monday, "We'll be in court tomorrow for the initial McCourt hearing." Selig said in a statement, "The action taken by Mr. McCourt does nothing but inflict further harm to this historic franchise."

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