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Report: Frank McCourt could soon post Dodgers for sale

Ian Casselberry
Big League Stew

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The battle between Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball over ownership of the Los Angeles Dodgers may finally be coming to an end.

It's hardly a done deal — and could easily fall apart if McCourt and his ego suddenly decide to keep fighting Bud Selig — but the two sides are getting close to reaching a settlement that would give McCourt some control over the team's sale and prevent Selig from having to defend MLB's way of doing business in court.

What made McCourt finally back down and agree to sell the team (if that's indeed what he's doing)? According to the Los Angeles Times' Bill Shaikin, even if he beat MLB in court and was able to maintain ownership of the Dodgers, McCourt's financial difficulties would keep him from being able to bankroll a competitive team. Sports business analysts that Shaikin interviewed believe that McCourt is in too deep a hole.

Based on figures McCourt submitted to the Bankruptcy Court, he would be hard-pressed to sell the Dodgers' television rights, settle his divorce and be left with enough capital to renovate Dodger Stadium and restore the team to prominence.

For instance, let's say McCourt was allowed to auction off the Dodgers' television rights — something that both Selig and Fox Sports argue is a breach of contract — for something close to the $3 billion he reportedly would have received from Fox to broadcast games during a 17-year agreement. {YSP:MORE}

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After McCourt paid off all of his previous debts to pull the franchise out of bankruptcy, he would still be left with approximately $175 million to presumably spend on the team. All right, Dodger fans! The owner can start writing checks for players and Dodger Stadium renovations.

Well, not so fast. McCourt also owes $130 million to his ex-wife for their divorce settlement.

And that's not even taking into consideration the damage a trial might have caused to MLB (and, in turn, the Dodgers).

If Selig had been forced to testify, what sort of information might he have had to reveal about the sport's financials on the stand? Would the court have prevented MLB from having a say in how McCourt spent his newfound cash on his team? Would he not be required to contribute as much to baseball's revenue-sharing agreement? A decision in McCourt's favor could have changed the way MLB runs its business.

The word "quagmire" comes to mind. When will the new latest editions of the Merriam-Webster or Oxford English dictionary be published? McCourt and the Dodgers' ownership mess may end up being used as examples for the definition. ("A difficult, precarious, or entrapping position," if you were curious.)

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