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As THR previously reported, the baseball team — now undergoing a makeover with flashy new players and new ownership that includes Earvin “Magic” Johnson and Hollywood heavyweight Peter Guber — has begun preliminary talks and will formally advance the conversation with Fox starting Oct. 15, when gates open for an exclusive 45-day negotiating period.
Among the topics being discussed, according to Reuters, is joint ownership of English- and Spanish-language networks. There was also acknowledgment on both sides that a deal would surpass the $3 billion-over-20-years pact that ex-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt signed with Fox last year; the deal was rejected by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
The Dodgers-Fox television arrangement expires at the end of the 2013 season, leading to speculation as to whether the team will score the richest TV deal ever in pro sports. One option is for the Dodgers to start its own network, as the New York Mets and New York Yankees have done, with potential spoils of $8.5 billion in TV revenue.
Later this fall, a bidding war for TV rights is expected between Fox Sports, which now airs games along with L.A’.s KCAL Channel 9, and Time Warner Cable, which signed the NBA’s Los Angeles Lakers to an agreement last year that could be worth $5 billion over 25 years.
Last spring, Johnson, Guber and other owners stepped in to purchase the Dodgers from the beleaguered McCourt for $2.15 billion.
Over the weekend, the Dodgers closed their biggest-ever trade, scoring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a trade-off of players including James Loney in which the team incurs $260 million in salaries. During a news conference, Johnson proclaimed, “We want to win now.”
(New York- and Chicago-based Guggenheim Baseball Management, owner of the Dodgers, is also co-owner with Pluribus Capital Management of Prometheus Global Media, the parent company of THR.)
For more on the Dodgers’ reboot, check out THR‘s recent cover story, which includes unprecedented access to the star players, managers past and present, iconic broadcasters and Johnson, too.
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