Update #2: Bill Shaikin reports that McCourt has now been notified, deal is rejected. Game on.
Update: well, hold on just a second now. As David Pinto from Baseball Musings noted in the comments, the link to the Brown story no longer works. The story appears to be removed from Yahoo entirely, and Brown’s tweet about it has been removed as well. I assume this has something to do with Bill Shaikin & Molly Knight each noting that their sources say McCourt has not yet been notified by MLB. Something fishy going on…
In “news that should surprise absolutely no one with a pulse” news, Tim Brown of Yahoo! tells us that Bud Selig will not be allowing the McCourts to use FOX to settle their financial differences.
Commissioner Bud Selig has rejected McCourt’s stab at solvency in the form of a television rights deal, finding that the financing of yesterday’s debt (both personal and professional) with tomorrow’s revenue is not a sustainable business model.
McCourt was notified Monday that, in spite of the divorce settlement he reached Friday with ex-wife Jamie, Major League Baseball would not approve the 17-year, near-$3-billion contract with Fox, money McCourt has said he’d require to keep the Dodgers viable. The divorce settlement also was contingent on Selig’s approval of the Fox deal, as it was partly funded by the contract.
With a large payroll outlay due in 10 days, the fight has come again to McCourt, the feisty Bostonian whose choices seem limited: sell or sue.
In the few minutes since this news came out, I’ve seen a lot of reaction from Dodger fans on Twitter cheering it, hoping it moves the club one step closer to a sale. It’s indeed good news, but it’s also not really “news”; this is exactly what we knew would happen. Here’s what I said a few days ago, after news of the sham “divorce settlement” had come out:
I didn’t really weigh in on the McCourt case much today, but I think it’s largely much ado about nothing. The settlement explicitly says that it only takes effect if Bud Selig approves the FOX contract, which he’s almost certainly not going to do, so this “settlement” could mean little. All that business about an August 4th court date to decide if the team is Frank’s or split 50/50? It’s almost certainly not going to take place. If anything, this just unites the McCourts in what’s an almost inevitable lawsuit against MLB; Frank McCourt, by all accounts, cannot make the June 30th payroll without the cash influx from the contract, and with the issue of Jamie objecting to the deal no longer a concern, Frank will contend that Selig is actively hurting the team. Then he’ll sue MLB, and this will be tied up in the courts for decades to come.
And that’s exactly what happened. The settlement was never real because the FOX deal would never go through, and we’ll almost certainly hear news of one or both McCourts suing Major League Baseball in the next few days. Then they’ll likely default on the June 30 payroll, causing MLB to step in and… well, you know. This isn’t going to be over anytime soon. But it’s at least a welcome step in the right direction.