Fox Sports opposes possible Dodgers TV rights sale

By Caroline Humer

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Fox Sports has objected to a move by the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers baseball team to hire bankers who would advise on the sale of media rights, saying it would undermine Fox's license to broadcast Dodger games.

Fox said that under a 2001 contract, it has broadcast rights with its regional cable unit Prime Ticket through the Dodgers' 2013 season and certain rights for later seasons.

Fox, a unit of News Corp, had proposed a new $3 billion, 17-year TV deal with the Dodgers. The deal was rejected in June by baseball commissioner Bud Selig, who said it ran contrary to the best interests of the team, the game and fans.

Team owner Frank McCourt put the Dodgers into bankruptcy shortly afterward in a dramatic bid to prevent the team from being seized by the league. The Dodgers said in their bankruptcy filing that they were running out of cash.

The issue of future TV rights is one of many battles surrounding the team. Already, the Delaware bankruptcy court judge overseeing the case has rejected the team's choice of bankruptcy financing in favor of financing from Major League Baseball that he found more cost effective.

In court papers filed on Friday, Fox Sports said it objected to the Dodgers' motion to hire Blackstone Group LP, saying it could harm its telecast agreement.

In earlier court documents, the Dodgers on July 15 asked for permission to hire Blackstone and listed a possible sale of the media rights among the advisory services it would perform.

The Dodgers have been expected to auction these rights to raise cash.

The bankruptcy case is In re: Los Angeles Dodgers LLC, U.S. Bankruptcy Court, District of Delaware, No. 11-12010.

(Reporting by Caroline Humer; editing by John Wallace)