Wishing all of you a very Merry Christmas
How does bankruptcy help McCourt and the Dodgers fend off what many are calling inevitable – the sale of the team?
Attorney Chris Ward told the Wall Street Journal that McCourt’s filing may eventually pave the way for a bankruptcy court to approve the Fox Sports deal previously rejected by MLB:
Given that Major League Baseball didn’t approve the TV contract, without that revenue they’re not going to be able to operate. They may have some more leverage to get the Fox TV transaction approved in bankruptcy court over the objections of Major League Baseball. That’s what really precipitated the bankruptcy filing.
McCourt will likely be able to stay in an ownership position while all of this plays out despite the fact that the MLB consitution gives Selig the right to strip McCourt of ownership should he file bankruptcy. That’s because, according to the Los Angeles Times, bankruptcy courts can overrule MLB rules while the actual bankruptcy proceedings play out. So while MLB will likely get its way in the end, McCourt has played the one card he had left after the rejection of the Fox deal and has graced the Dodger community with more antics as the ownership saga continues to unfold.
Attorney Chris Ward also agrees that the move was really the best one McCourt could make at this point:
Deal Journal: What do you think of what the Dodgers are trying to do?
Ward: It gives them an upper hand that they didn’t have before. Strategically it was probably the right move to make.
DodgerDivorce.com was kind enough to post the filing so you can read the details. Manny Ramirez is the largest creditor with over $20 million due (no surprise there) but lots of other current, former, and minor league players are on that list as well. Poor Vin Scully is stilll owed over $100k on his contract (here’s hoping he gets all of it) and the team apparently also has over $300k in unsecured credit card debt with Bank of America according to the filing.
Video summary courtesy of ESPN
Dear Frank McCourt,
I write to you as a friend. Please don’t snicker. Yes, I have been very hard on you as owner of the Dodgers. Tried to speak the truth when felt it necessary. That’s what friends do. I wonder if you have any of those. Not attorneys or Howard Sunkin or employees who tell you what you want to hear. But real friends who look you straight in the eye and speak honestly, however hard or painful it is to hear.
So I say this to you without animosity or hostility: It’s time to let the Dodgers go.
You say you love the Dodgers? Then do what’s best for the team and the franchise. Sell the club and move on.
I know it’s against your fighting nature. And that you can design a list of ways you believe you’ve been wronged or treated unfairly. That you have designed various scenarios to keep the battle alive.
And do what to the Dodgers in the meantime? Into just how many pieces do you have to tear the team and franchise before it’s enough?
I’m trying to visualize a scenario in which you think you actually come out victorious. You’re allowed to sue Major League Baseball and you actually win? Unlikely, but how long would that take and what would be left of the team by then? How many fans would still be at the Ravine? What would your relationship be with MLB and the other 29 owners?
You lost this city and its fans a long time ago and it’s only going to get worse if you dig in. Forget the convoluted schemes. Forget trying to keep control of some of your 26 entities or declaring bankruptcy or trying to find more Peters to pay Paul.
It’s over, and in truth, it has been since the day MLB took control in April. This should not be about ego or hubris or getting in a last uppercut.
This is no longer about you, it’s about what’s best for the Dodgers. And going through protracted legal maneuvers that would likely take years to unfold is not it.
You really, truly love the Dodgers? Then end this. Let them go. It’s the right thing to do.
Through June 1, home attendance at Dodger Stadium is down a total of 221,984 from last season, an average 7,161 fewer fans per game. This represents a 16.7 percent overall drop, which is by far the worst in baseball this season.
Attendance across MLB through Monday is down 381,786 from last season, an average of 426 fewer fans per game
The Dodgers organization continues to decline to discuss season ticket sales or overall attendance but it’s clear that the Dodgers are battling a double whammy of far fewer walk-up and single game advance ticket sales as well as a significant no-show rate that is plaguing baseball as a whole.
If you haven’t read Darren Rovell’s story entitled Does Major League Baseball Have an Attendance Problem then head over to CNBC right now and take a look (or watch the embedded video below). the number of people tweeting pictures with hashtags #emptystadium or #emptystadiums showing the disparity between reported attendance and actual butts-in-seats is surprising.