Fox said today that it has no plans to try to buy any portion of the Dodgers from Frank McCourt.
…I think Fox which sold the team, stadium and parking lots to McCourt for $421 million in 2004, could — and might have to — throw its name in the hat again.
Why? For the same reason they bought the Dodgers in 1998 for $311 million. They want the team’s future television rights, which would begin in the 2014 season. A spokesman for Fox Sports could not immediately answer whether the speculation, which has been floated by some bankers, is rational.
What is clear is this: Fox Sports West and Fox-owned Prime Ticket is in a very tough position. After this season (if there is one) they lose the Lakers to Time Warner, which signed the team to a 20-year deal reportedly worth as much as $3 billion. And they lost USC and UCLA games to the upstart Pac-12 Network. If they don’t get a deal for the Dodgers, the network is basically worthless.
The reason Fox sold the Dodgers is that they thought buying TV rights were a better financial move. They were reportedly losing tens of millions of dollars managing the team. But now, that just might be the cost of doing business in a marketplace that is much more competitive than it was just seven years ago. …
Few in Los Angeles will be eager to see a return of the Fox ownership. At a minimum, the idea that the bidding of Fox could increase the money Frank McCourt receives in the sale would be ratified by the Irony Committee.
Perhaps what happens is this: Fox ends up a minority stakeholder in the team, as it essentially was when it helped finance the McCourt purchase nearly eight years ago, but working with a new, improved owner.