A new knot in a non-binding story

I continue to maintain that it’s mostly much ado about nothing whether or not Frank McCourt can try sell the Dodgers’ post-2013 TV rights ahead of schedule, because we’ve been told over and over again that any agreement on those rights is non-binding for the next Dodger owner.

Nevertheless, today’s ruling by a a U.S. District Court judge that halted, for the time being, McCourt’s attempt to begin that sale process (first reported by Bill Shaikin of the Times), does make sense to me. Here’s what I wrote two weeks ago:

… I’m going to be perfectly honest with you. I’m not predisposed to have any sympathy for Fox, but I have tried over and over again to wrap my head around today’s decision and I haven’t figured out how it helps the Dodgers’ maximize their sale value, and therefore why it served the court any purpose to nullify Fox’s right to keep exclusivity on the Dodgers’ post-2013 rights until next fall.

McCourt can’t negotiate a binding deal with Fox before the sale, so there’s no incentive for Fox to make a real offer. Any valuations of the Dodgers’ TV rights that come before the team is sold will more accurately come from independent sources. …

Shaikin himself tweets: “In reply: Ruling shouldn’t much impact sale. Any prospective Dodgers owner knows over-under for next TV contract is $4 billion. It was unlikely that any new owner would take this TV deal anyway. Far more likely that new owner would wait to negotiate own deal.”

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