Frank McCourt calls MLB financing “a deal with the devil”

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One thing you learn pretty quick as a litigator is that, just because you can say something, doesn’t mean you should.  At least in court filings, where sometimes one’s rhetorical flourishes can go too damn far. Where one’s zealousness to make a sharp point leads one to say something in writing that they would never (one hopes) say to a person’s face.  I have this feeling Frank McCourt’s lawyers are about to be reminded of this, because the filing they just made with the bankruptcy court is over the top.

I haven’t read it yet — and given its length I may not —  but Eric Fisher of SportsBusiness Journal is tweeting the highlights from it, and he came across a doozy.  In arguing against the idea of allowing Major League Baseball to finance the operations of the Dodgers during the pendency of the case, McCourt argues that “it is well within [the Dodgers] business judgment to decline such a ‘deal with the devil.’ ”

That deal would be with Major League Baseball and its Commissioner Bud Selig.  Who, yeah, has been called a lot of things before, but I’m not sure he’s been called “the devil.” And certainly not by a major league owner.  And I’m guessing that a Delaware bankruptcy judge isn’t used to having a putatively sophisticated litigant before him who tosses around that kind of hyperbole in briefs during the preliminary rounds of a complicated business case.

In their weight, McCourt’s multiple arguments that he, and not Major League Baseball, is the more responsible steward of the Los Angeles Dodgers are laughable.  I mean, you can only say “up is down and black is white” so many times before you lose all credibility.  But I have this feeling that referring to an alternative financing plan — one that has better terms than the one he is offering — as “a deal with the devil” is going to make the judge pretty angry and put a big dent in whatever credibility McCourt and his legal team has at the moment.

Fox, MLB sign broadcast rights extension through 2028

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FOX Sports and Major League Baseball announced a few minutes ago that they have agreed to a multi-year broadcast rights extension. The deal keeps Fox as the lead MLB rights holder, and home of the World Series, All-Star Game and a good chunk of the playoffs through at least 2028.

While the press release does not announce the financial terms, Bob Nightengale of USA Today is reporting that it will pay Major League Baseball about 30-40% more than the previous contract. While ratings are not what they used to be, it would seem that the eyeballs Fox is getting are more valuable to it.

UPDATE: That bump is actually even bigger:

For the time being, things will look very much like they do now. Starting in 2022, there will be more games broadcast. There are no specifics about how many more. The release says “FOX Sports will also expand its digital rights,” but again, no specifics on what that means, exactly.

FOX Sports has been a baseball rights-holder since 1996 and has been the exclusive national non-cable rights holder since 2001. That’s gonna continue for at least another decade.