Major League Baseball will appoint someone to oversee business and day-to-day operations of the Los Angeles Dodgers as divorced owners Frank and Jamie McCourt argue over how to divide the team.
“I have taken this action because of my deep concerns regarding the finances and operations of the Dodgers and to protect the best interests of the club, its great fans and all of Major League Baseball,” Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement released by MLB.
Selig said he will name MLB’s representative to run the team in the next few days.
“The Dodgers have been one of the most prestigious franchises in all of sports and we owe it to their legion of loyal fans to ensure that this club is being operated properly now and will be guided appropriately in the future,” Selig’s statement said.
Dodgers spokesman Josh Rawitch, the team’s vice president for communications, didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail seeking comment.
Bloomberg Businessweek reported last August that, according to unidentified people close to the McCourts, the Dodgers’ debt stood at around $525 million, the majority of it borrowed against future ticket sales. Forbes magazine estimated almost all the team’s profits were being used to pay down the interest on those debts.
The McCourts were granted a divorce in October after almost 31 years of marriage. A Los Angeles judge last year invalidated a postnuptial agreement that Frank McCourt claimed made him the sole owner of the Dodgers, leaving the team’s ownership in limbo.
“The Dodgers brand has atrophied over the last few years,” David Carter, executive director of the Sports Business Institute at the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, said in a Feb. 28 interview. “The lack of clarity on ownership has been a key part of it.”
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