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New Dodgers owner can sell merchandise rights

November 17, 2011 |  5:49 pm

Dodgersbig1The Dodgers and their merchandise vendor have agreed to terminate their contract, a move that could enable outgoing owner Frank McCourt to fetch a higher purchase price for the team.

The current contract extended through 2017 and guaranteed the Dodgers a minimum of $4.5 million per year. With that contract set to expire any day now, a new owner could put the Dodgers' merchandise contract up for bid, with the possibility of fetching more guaranteed revenue in a new deal. That, in turn, could lead prospective Dodgers buyers to consider a slightly higher purchase price for the team.

The Dodgers' merchandise vendor, FMI, had clashed with the team in U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The Dodgers and FMI subsequently settled their differences in mediation, according to a court filing late Thursday, with the two sides agreeing to terminate the merchandise contract no later than Dec. 1, subject to court approval.

By settling the matter now, the Dodgers said in Thursday's filing, the team can bring "merchandise operations in-house for the 2012 baseball season or enter into a short-term contract with a third-party provider of such service.... Either option will provide potential purchasers with the opportunity to handle a significant component of the operation of a professional sports team as they see fit, thereby maximizing value."

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-- Bill Shaikin

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