UPDATED: Dodgers bankruptcy: MLB offers longer loan repayment period

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The Dodgers could negotiate a new television contract with Fox before repaying a loan to Major League Baseball, a league official said in a bankruptcy court filing Thursday.

The court is scheduled to decide next week whether MLB or Dodgers owner Frank McCourt should provide financing to run the team during the bankruptcy process.


The MLB loan would not need to be repaid until Nov. 30, 2012, after the conclusion of an exclusive negotiating window between the Dodgers and Fox, according to the declaration of John McHale Jr., an MLB executive vice president.

McHale also said that the loan would be unsecured. He reiterated the league’s previous offer of lower interest and fees.

Under terms included in the Dodgers’ initial bankruptcy papers, the loan arranged by McCourt would have to be repaid no later than June 27, 2012, one year following the bankruptcy filing. That loan would be secured by Dodgers property, among other assets. The terms of the loan are subject to change.

McCourt’s attorneys have said he should not be compelled to accept a loan from a league that they say is intent on forcing him out of ownership. They say the court should auction the Dodgers’ cable television rights as soon as possible so that creditors can be repaid promptly.

[UPDATED 6:54 p.m.: ‘We look forward to seeking court approval of the Highbridge facility (the loan arranged by McCourt) at the hearing on July 20, which remains in the Dodgers’ best interest,’ said Steve Sugerman, a spokesman for McCourt.]

The league also asked Thursday for court permission to file its objections to McCourt’s plan under seal, claiming the league would include ‘sensitive commercial information’ about the Dodgers’ finances that could ‘harm the [Dodgers’] economic interests.’

-- Bill Shaikin