Dodgers Sue Fox Sports Over Control Of Club's Media Rights


Talk about your Hot Stove league. Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt may have reached a settlement with Major League Baseball to sell the club, but he's certainly not going out quietly.
The team filed suit Nov. 16 against Fox Sports, whose regional sports network Prime Ticket holds the team's media rights, for allegedly interfering with its effort to auction off those assets, which would drive its overall value higher.
The Dodgers' legal play follows a cease-and-desist letter that Fox sent last week demanding that the team and Blackstone Group, which has been selected to oversee its sale out of bankruptcy, stop trying to make a market for the media rights. Under its contract, Prime Ticket holds Dodgers' TV rights through the end of the 2013 season,and the RSN also has an exclusive negotiating window through the end of November 2012.
"The issuance of the Fox letter was intended to interfere with the sale of the Dodgers and their assets in bankruptcy," the team said in the lawsuit, filed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Del. "It also constitutes an impermissible exercise control over [the team's] property."
The bankruptcy court has yet to approve the settlement. Before MLB and the Dodgers reached their agreement, Fox Sports had sued the team in bankruptcy court to block the proposed sale of its media rights.
"This is just the latest chapter in the current owner's ongoing scheme to avoid honoring his contractual obligations," Fox Sports said in a statement."The full truth of this unfortunate situation will soon become apparent to all."
Fox holds the national rights to MLB regular-season and some of its playoffs, notably the World Series, while 14 of its RSNs provide baseball coverage.
For its part, Time Warner Cable has expressed interest in the Dodgers media rights -- should they become available. The MSO is scheduled to tip off a pair of Los Angeles Lakers-centered RSNs in the City of Angels. Published reports indicate that it has also signed a long-term contract for Major League Soccer's Los Angeles Galaxy; Fox Sports West is the current rights-holder.