Owner Frank McCourt was desperate to cut a 20-year, $2.5 billion deal with Fox, a deal that would have provided him with $300 million up front to continue operating the team and buy out his soon-to-be ex-wife. And Fox, which will lose the Lakers when the team forms its own sports network with Time Warner cable, has been desperate to hold onto the Dodgers, its only other big audience draw in Southern California. But the WSJ reports that baseball commissioner Bud Selig withheld approval of the deal because of concerns that McCourt would use the money to cover his personal liabilities, not operate the team. That's apparently what much of the squabble boils down to. From the Journal:
People with knowledge of the TV-rights negotiations say that late last week Fox executives learned that Mr. McCourt was nearing a major sponsorship deal--which is separate from TV rights--with Time Warner Cable. A Time Warner Cable spokesman declined to comment. The news prompted Fox executives to do whatever they could to prevent Mr. McCourt from establishing a relationship with a potential competitor that might ultimately cause Fox to lose the rights to Dodgers games, people with knowledge of events said. Almost immediately, Fox executives arranged a $30 million personal loan to Mr. McCourt that would provide him enough short-term financing to keep the team afloat and keep him away from establishing a relationship with Time Warner. However, according to one of the people involved in the matter, Mr. Selig viewed the personal loan as an end-run around his authority and the final straw in his deteriorating view of Mr. McCourt's fitness for operating the team. On Wednesday Mr. Selig informed Mr. McCourt he was taking over day-to-day operations of the team.
*TMZ is reporting that McCourt's lawyers are preparing to go to court and ask for an injunction that would give him back control of the team. A suit could be filed as early as Friday.