Dodgers ask court to rule out financial damages to Fox
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The Dodgers should not owe even one penny to Fox Sports in damages, the team asserted in a U.S. Bankruptcy Court filing late Thursday.
The Dodgers last week won the right to sell their television rights along with the team, over the Fox objection that advancing the negotiating dates specified in Prime Ticket’s contract with the team would violate the contract.
“Even if Prime Ticket could establish any breach ... it will never recover a single dollar in damages, let alone $1 billion,” according to the Dodgers’ filing.
Fox asserts the Dodgers’ liability could exceed $1 billion if the loss of the team’s television rights leads to the closure of Prime Ticket. However, the Dodgers argue that any such Fox damage would be self-inflicted.
“Time Warner [Cable] clearly outbid Fox even though Fox clearly wanted to keep the rights to telecast Lakers games,” according to the Dodgers’ filing. “There is no reason to think Fox will not suffer [the] same outcome in their negotiations with the Dodgers.”
By selling the television rights and the team simultaneously, the Dodgers’ investment bankers hope to secure the highest possible sale price for outgoing owner Frank McCourt.
In Thursday’s filing, the Dodgers claimed that Fox is trying “to intimidate other parties from pursuing the telecast rights, or even the team itself, by making trumped-up claims.” The Dodgers want the court to either reject such claims entirely or cap their worth at "$0.”
-- Bill Shaikin