With no resolution in sight over a lucrative Fox Sports TV deal that would give owner Frank McCourt the cash influx he needs to continue operating the Los Angeles Dodgers, the team filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy Monday. The move allows the team to use $150 million for daily operations and gives the franchise some time to find a new TV deal; Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig rejected the proposed long-term deal with Fox last week, saying “the transaction is structured to facilitate the further diversion of Dodgers assets for the personal needs of Mr. McCourt.” Baseball had already taken control of the team in April. Said McCourt — who faces a costly divorce that could force the sale of the team, skyrocketing payroll obligations, declining attendance and a commissioner that is sick of it all — in a statement Monday:
“The Dodgers have delivered time and again since I became owner, and that’s been good for baseball. We turned the team around financially after years of annual losses before I purchased the team. We invested $150 million in the stadium. We’ve had excellent on-field performance, including playoff appearances four times in seven years. And we brought the Commissioner a media rights deal that would have solved the cash flow challenge I presented to him a year ago, when his leadership team called us a ‘model franchise.’
“Yet he’s turned his back on the Dodgers, treated us differently, and forced us to the point we find ourselves in today. I simply cannot allow the Commissioner to knowingly and intentionally be in a position to expose the Dodgers to financial risk any longer. It is my hope that the Chapter 11 process will create a fair and constructive environment to get done what we couldn’t achieve with the Commissioner directly.”ease issued at the time, “(lead) efforts to improve the fan experience at the stadium.”
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