LOS ANGELES — Embattled Los Angeles Dodgers owner Frank McCourt and Major League Baseball reached an agreement late Tuesday to sell one of the sport’s most storied franchises, ending a seven-year run that included four trips to the postseason before recently becoming mired in legal troubles capped by a filing for bankruptcy protection.
A joint statement said there will be a “court-supervised process” to sell the team and its media rights to maximize value for the Dodgers and McCourt. The Blackstone Group LP will manage the sale, which could include Dodger Stadium and the surrounding parking lots.
McCourt and baseball Commissioner Bud Selig have traded barbs since MLB took control of day-to-day operation of the team in April over concerns about the team’s finances and the way it was being run.
McCourt filed for bankruptcy protection in June after the league rejected a 17-year TV contract with Fox, reported to be worth up to $3 billion, that he needed to keep the team afloat. Selig said that almost half of an immediate $385 million payment would have been diverted from the Dodgers to McCourt.
The franchise’s demise grew out of Frank McCourt’s protracted divorce with Jamie McCourt and the couple’s dispute over the ownership of the team.
The divorce highlighted decadent spending and using the team as if it were their personal credit card. They took out more than $100 million in loans from Dodgers-related businesses for their own use, according to divorce documents.
“The Dodgers are in bankruptcy because Mr. McCourt has taken almost $190 million out of the club and has completely alienated the Dodgers’ fan base,” the baseball attorneys wrote.
Dodgers attorneys claimed Selig deliberately starved the club of cash and destroyed its reputation in a bid to seize control of the team and force its sale.
“As the commissioner knows and as our legal documents have clearly shown, he approved and praised the structure of the team about which he belatedly complains,” the team said in a statement.