Last season, Frank McCourt thought that he had a deal in place with Fox Sports that was going to save the Dodger's franchise from bankruptcy and provide liquidity to the organization's coffers.
However, (partially) due to Bud Selig's icy relationship with McCourt, MLB prevented the TV deal from occurring. The Dodgers leadership had not provided MLB with the requested explanation of how this money was not going to just end up in McCourt's back pocket and be used for his personal expenses (i.e. how he got into the mess to begin with).
Without the $3 billion deal, McCourt was forced to put up the Dodgers up for sale.
This season, another NL West club, the San Diego Padres, was facing a similar situation. Their owner, John Moores, had been engaged in a lengthy battle to change the majority ownership—effectively to sell the club.
The Padres were bought in 2009 by a group led by former super-agent, Jeff Moorad. The plans were to make Moorad the majority owner by 2013, pending approval by at least 21 of the other 29 MLB owners, as per MLB rules.
However, Moorad dropped his bid to become majority owner due to the intractable conflict between himself and the rest of the owners, allowing Moores to sell the team to new bidders. A group led by former Dodgers owner, Peter O'Malley, along with professional golfer/San Diego native, Phil Mickelson, was recently awarded the winning bid for the organization.
The commonality between these two sales involves events that took place prior to Moorad's dropping out of the Padres ownership group.
This spring, Fox Sports was negotiating with the Padres for broadcasting rights, and the two parties ended up agreeing on a $1.4 billion, 20-year deal. The deal included $200 million upfront for Moores, even though MLB was fully aware that he was in the process of selling the team.
This begs the question: why did Selig allow Moores to pocket a couple hundred million, but not Frank McCourt? Granted that the Dodgers had been running a loose ship for a while, but one would think that the Dodger's example would have made MLB even less likely to allow owners to obtain cash from TV deals going forward.
I believe that this is another example in Bud Selig's long history of playing favorites, running MLB like it is his own personal childhood clubhouse, providing benefits to his friends and shunning those who are not in his good graces.
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