Fox Sports Not Happy with Dodgers’ Media-Rights Dealings

Fox Sports is apparently unhappy with the MLB-controlled Dodgers’ plan to hire Blackstone Group to market the team’s media rights. The News Corp-owned Wall Street Journal calls News Corp-owned Fox Sports one of Frank McCourt’s “biggest supporters,” and isn’t too pleased with the move either.

Here’s why:

The Dodgers’ move to hire Blackstone to market its broadcast rights is key to the team’s plan to emerge from bankruptcy with Mr. McCourt’s ownership stake fully intact. The tactic, however, threatens to anger Fox, which until the bankruptcy had been a supporter and lender to the team.

Fox Sports has already advanced to Mr. McCourt’s team all of the fees for the Dodgers’ 2011 television rights. Furthermore, the network had consented to a 17-year, $2.7 billion extension to the current broadcast deal that would have allowed the team to avoid a bankruptcy filing.

Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig, however, rejected that proposal because a portion of a $385 million loan that came with the renewed contract would have gone to a divorce settlement with Mr. McCourt’s former wife, Jamie.

Yet another needle in News Corp’s side.