L.A. Dodgers-Fox TV Deal Rejected by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig

4:00 PM PST 06/20/2011 by Kimberly Nordyke
Ramin Talaie/Bloomberg/Getty Images

Selig says the reported $3 billion, 17-year agreement was "not in the best interests" of the team, its fans or the game of baseball.

Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig has rejected a proposed long-term TV contract extension reached between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Fox.

Selig announced Monday that he will not approve the reported $3 billion, 17-year agreement that also was key to a divorce settlement between Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt. As a result, the settlement will be voided, and the McCourts will resume proceedings in divorce court.

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Selig said he informed McCourt of his decision in a "detailed letter."

"This decision was reached after a full and careful consideration of the terms of the proposed transaction and the club's current circumstances," Selig said in a statement. "It is my conclusion that this proposed transaction with Fox would not be in the best interests of the Los Angeles Dodgers franchise, the game of baseball and the millions of loyal fans of this historic club."

Selig added that he gave McCourt and "expansive analysis" of his reasons for rejecting the proposed dea.

"Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt," he added. "Given the magnitude of the transaction, such a diversion of assets would have the effect of mortgaging the future of the franchise to the long-term detriment of the club and its fans."

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Without the Fox deal and a $385 million advance that would have come with it, the Dodgers will be hard-pressed to meet their June 30 payroll, and Selig could then seize the Dodgers. Fox has already advanced Frank McCourt money from the team’s current TV deal to help cover expenses.

“I fully expect MLB to approve the Fox transaction," Frank McCourt told reporters after the settlement was unveiled Friday. “MLB has taken the position that before they approve [the deal], they wanted to see a settlement of the divorce, approval from Jamie [on the deal] or an order from the judge. They asked for one of the three, and we've given them all three today.”

Meanwhile, the commissioner’s office is nearing the end of an investigation into the Dodgers’ operations, a probe whose result Frank McCourt believes is predetermined to force him from ownership.

The McCourts purchased the Dodgers for $430 million in 2004. According to court documents, the club was $433 million in debt as of September.

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