Fox Sports Sues Dodgers Over TV Rights

Frank McCourt’s fight to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers might have cost him another ally. Fox Sports, which owns TV broadcast rights to the Dodgers (as well as exclusive negotiation rights when the current deal expires after next year), has sued the team in U.S. Bankruptcy Court, saying the Dodgers are breaching their contract by shopping future rights. “The telecast rights to the Los Angeles Dodgers baseball games are an inherently unique and irreplaceable asset and business opportunity,” the filing reads. McCourt, who lost financial control of the team to Major League Baseball earlier this year, sees the next media-rights deal as the key to solidifying his and the team’s cash woes, which would allow him to remain owner. Remember, McCourt and Fox had worked out a long-term extension this year that would have given the owner $385 million in upfront payments that he claims was necessary to keep the team afloat, but MLB commissioner Bud Selig vetoed the deal. For Fox Sports, which airs the games on its cable channel Prime Ticket, the lawsuit is an attempt to keep a valuable asset and fend off rivals like Time Warner Cable, which already acquired the Los Angeles Lakers’ TV rights and created a pair of regional sports networks to air games. It’s likely the cabler would want to do the same with the Dodgers. McCourt has said in court filings that DirecTV and Dish Network also might make bids for the next round of rights, which covers the 2014 season and beyond.

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