Next to step to the plate in the battle between Fox Sports and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the club's media rights: a mediator.
Kevin Gross, the judge in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, who is presiding over the Dodgers and Major League Baseball's agreement to sell the team through the venue, has appointed retired federal judge Joseph Farnan Jr. to mediate their dispute, beginning Nov. 28.
Embattled Dodgers owner Frank McCourt with the aid of Blackstone Group is auctioning the team, but also wants to take the club's media rights to market to enhance the franchise's overall value. Fox's regional sports network Prime Ticket holds the TV rights for the 2012 and 2013 seasons, as well as an exclusive negotiating window that ends in November 2012. McCourt wants to close that window and begin selling future media rights. Time Warner Cable, which will tip off a pair of Los Angeles Lakers-centered RSNs next October after wresting the famed NBA franchises rights from RSN FS West and KCAL, has said it would be interested if the Dodgers rights became available.
According to published reports, the mediator will file a report about whether the matter has been resolved or not.
On Nov. 21, Gross dismissed Fox's motion that the bankruptcy was not valid. On Nov. 30, the court will hold a hearing to approve the sales procedure of the team.
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