* Dodgers seek early auction of media rights
* Fox says to defend media rights ownership
Nov 12 The bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers have
sought permission to auction the team's lucrative media rights
earlier than scheduled to bolster the sale of the team under a
recent settlement with Major League Baseball, according to
court documents filed on Saturday.
MLB had earlier opposed Dodgers owner Frank McCourt's
effort to solicit bids for future media rights, valued at about
$3 billion, which sparked a lawsuit against the team by News
Corp's Fox subsidiary.
One person familiar with the situation said that getting
the MLB to remain neutral on the contentious issue of a media
rights sale was a major concession made by the league to get
McCourt to agree to a sale of the storied team in bankruptcy
Fox's Prime Ticket sports network holds the Dodgers' media
rights through 2013 and has the exclusive right of first
negotiation from November 2012 for a new deal.
The Dodgers now want an auction for the media rights to
take place over the next few months as the auction for the team
"Exclusive negotiations with Fox would begin the day after
entry of an order granting the amended motion, instead of
October 15, 2012, as provided by the Fox contract," said the
filing in federal bankruptcy court in Delaware.
The MLB declined to comment on Saturday.
A spokesman for Fox was not immediately available.
On Friday, Fox spokesman Chris Bellitti said, "We fully
support a change in ownership of the Dodgers."
"In that process, Fox has rights that cannot be violated,
as MLB has previously stated. Those rights were negotiated and
paid for by us and approved by MLB. We will take all necessary
steps to aggressively protect and defend those rights, as our
still-pending lawsuit suggests," he said.
The Dodgers had no further comment "beyond the amended
motion to approve marketing procedures for licensing telecast
rights it has filed today with the bankruptcy court in
Delaware," said a spokesperson for the debtor.
The team and media rights sales will be run by the
Dodgers' financial adviser, Blackstone Group LP .
The case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy
Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.