NPR logo

Dodgers Owner Files Bankruptcy To Fend Off MLB

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137451061/137455180" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript
Dodgers Owner Files Bankruptcy To Fend Off MLB

Sports

Dodgers Owner Files Bankruptcy To Fend Off MLB

Dodgers Owner Files Bankruptcy To Fend Off MLB

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/137451061/137455180" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

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

toggle caption
Reed Saxon/AP

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

Reed Saxon/AP

MELISSA BLOCK, host:

The Los Angeles Dodgers have filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. Major League Baseball recently nixed a TV deal that owner Frank McCourt said would stabilize the team's shaky finances. NPR's Tom Goldman reports that today's filing appears to be a last-ditch effort by McCourt to keep baseball from seizing one of the most storied teams in all of sports.

TOM GOLDMAN: The bankruptcy court filing says Frank McCourt has secured a commitment of $150 million in financing that will allow the Dodgers to continue to operate in the ordinary course of business: all salaries paid, employee benefits to continue, ticket prices stay the same.

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 McCourt's 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. Nick Ut/AP hide caption

toggle 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.

Nick Ut/AP

In the statement, Frank McCourt says of Selig, quote, he's turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today, end-quote.

That point is one of desperation, says Marc Ganis. He's a sports business expert who runs SportsCorp Ltd.

Mr. MARC GANIS (SportsCorp Ltd.): The formal rejection of the Fox Network deal was a nail in the coffin. And he's trying to do everything he possibly can to hold onto the team. This is likely to meet with the same lack of success all his other moves have had.

GOLDMAN: For example, Ganis says the $150 million in financing includes more than 10-percent interest. Compare that to last year's Texas Rangers bankruptcy case with interest in the three-and-a-half to four-and-a-half percent range.

Mr. GANIS: So obviously the entity that's providing financing feels they're taking quite a bit of risk here.

GOLDMAN: It's something the bankruptcy judge will take into account, Ganis says, when deciding whether or not to approve the financing plan. Also, Ganis expects baseball to contest the bankruptcy filing.

It is the latest twist in a saga that's battered the Dodgers' sterling reputation. Under the long-time ownership of the O'Malley family, the franchise was considered a model, with great moments etched in baseball history.