Report: Dodgers have secret deal to protect revenue *

Bloomberg News says that a previously unreported agreement between Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball limits how much of the Dodgers' revenue from a new TV deal has to be shared with other teams. This clause helped fuel the Dodgers recent big spending on players such as Adrian Gonzales, Hanley Ramirez and Carl Crawford, the story says.

The “special terms” help explain the Dodgers’ improved finances since emerging from bankruptcy in April by being sold to a group led by Guggenheim Partners for $2.15 billion. That sum was almost twice the record price for a U.S. sports team, and the new owners have been acquiring stars such as infielders Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez, committing more than $400 million to multiyear contracts.

“It’s an incredibly great deal for the new ownership that was obviously a factor in the amount of money they were willing to pay,” said Michael Cramer, who handled TV rights while president of the Texas Rangers and now heads a University of Texas sports and media studies program. “Any team in the league would say, ‘Can I have that?’ It’s going to create a lot of owners saying, ‘Where’s mine?”’

* Update: Existence of the deal and the potential imoact was reported by Bill Shaikin in the Los Angeles Times in May.

Related at LA Observed: Money can't buy happiness for Dodgers or Angels

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