Los Angeles Dodgers owners Frank and Jamie McCourt were in an LA courtroom today saying they have agreed to a divorce settlement that could potentially take the team out of ownership limbo. But as usual in this case it doesn’t come without a big question mark. According to the LA Times, the deal hinges on Major League Baseball approving Frank McCourt’s multiyear TV deal with Fox that is worth as much as $3 billion, cash that would allow him to meet his team’s payroll obligations and give him the stability to retake financial control of the franchise, which right now is being handled by the league during all of this mess. The Fox deal calls for a $385 million upfront loan to McCourt to handle the Dodgers’ immediate money problems, Bloomberg reports. Here’s the problem, though: the league is hesitant to approve any TV contract in case the Dodgers need to be sold as part of a community property divorce settlement, worried any TV deal signed to now could be undervalued for the new owners. Frank McCourt has said that the league is stalling on purpose to force him out.
Here’s how this will work: Under the terms of today’s settlement agreement, there will be a one-day trial August 4th to determine whether Frank McCourt owns the team outright. If not, the Dodgers become community property and would almost have to be sold as part of a 50-50 asset split. If Frank McCourt wins, Jamie gets $100 million, their houses and indemnity from tax liability, and Frank gets to be sole owner (on paper, anyway). But the fact remains that if MLB doesn’t approve the TV contract, there’s no settlement, and everybody goes back to square one. And MLB doesn’t seem to be budging.
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