With one swift decision, MLB commissioner Bud Selig may have effectively ended Frank McCourt’s days as the owner of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
According to a statement issued by the league, Selig has opted to reject McCourt’s last-ditch attempt at securing financial backing by virtue of a television rights deal, citing the owner’s personal and professional problems as the reasons why.
On Monday, McCourt was notified by major league baseball that his 17-year, approximately $3 billion contract with Fox would not be approved. This served as a double-whammy of sorts for McCourt because part of his divorce settlement -- reached on Friday -- involved funding from this arrangement.
Selig had this to say in a statement:
“Pursuant to my authority as Commissioner, I have informed Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt today in a detailed letter that I cannot approve the club’s proposed transaction with FOX. This decision was reached after a full and careful consideration of the terms of the proposed transaction and the club’s current circumstances. 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.
“Mr. McCourt has been provided with an expansive analysis of my reasons for rejecting this proposed transaction. Critically, the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt. 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.
“As I have said before, we owe it to the legion of loyal Dodger fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future. This transaction would not accomplish these goals.”
At this point, McCourt’s options are limited. He can either sell the ballclub or seek any other possible financial alternative, though none appear to be available at this time. In the very likely event that he is unable to meet payroll, the league will cover it for him all the while essentially forcing the often-maligned owner to put his team up for sale.