02/25/11 3:40 PM EST
MLB denies McCourt's attempted loan
By Ken Gurnick / MLB.com
The deal would have extended FOX's current cable rights to televise Dodgers games by up to four years if the loan was not repaid, at a value of $50 million a year, anonymous sources told the Times.
The Times earlier reported that FOX had advanced McCourt money from the current TV contract to help cover operating expenses. The current FOX contract expires after the 2013 season.
The ownership of the Dodgers has been a subject of considerable attention and uncertainty since the divorce of Frank and Jamie McCourt, although Mr. McCourt has maintained he will retain ownership and control when the divorce proceedings are completed.
He has also continued to pursue alternative financing for a debt estimated at $430 million since receiving Commissioner Bud Selig's decision, which, according to the Times, was made several weeks ago.
"The fact is that Frank is and continues to be the 100 percent owner of the Dodgers," said Steve Sugerman, Frank McCourt's spokesperson. "He is well aware of his responsibilities to the team, to the city and to his former wife. He takes these responsibilities seriously and is living up to them."
According to the Times, Selig might withhold approval of an investor or broadcast contract adjustment, as he did when FOX offered to address the financial burdens of Tom Hicks, the Rangers owner who eventually relinquished the club, which was sold in a bankruptcy auction. FOX then negotiated a 20-year, $1.6 billion deal with the new owners, which includes Hall of Famer Nolan Ryan.
Major League Baseball and Fox representatives declined comment.
McCourt bought the Dodgers from FOX's parent company, News Corp., for $430 million in 2004. The terms of that deal called for News Corp. to lend McCourt $145 million against Boston properties as collateral. FOX later sold those properties to settle that loan.
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.