Fox wants to depose Bud Selig, Frank McCourt [UPDATED]
Fox Sports served notice late Friday that its attorneys plan to take depositions from Commissioner Bud Selig and Dodgers owner Frank McCourt, with the notices issued five days before a hearing on the television rights dispute between Fox and the Dodgers.
The parties had been in mediation since Monday. It was not immediately clear whether the mediation had collapsed.
It also was not immediately clear whether Fox could compel the witnesses to participate in depositions. On Friday, Fox served deposition notices on the five people — Selig, McCourt, Major League Baseball Executive Vice President Rob Manfred and two Dodgers executives — whom U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Kevin Gross already had ruled would not be allowed to testify at next week's hearing.
[UPDATED, Saturday 9:31 a.m.: The depositions are not related to next week's hearing, according to two people familiar with the proceedings but not authorized to comment on them. The depositions instead are related to a Dec. 27 hearing at which Fox will ask Gross to dismiss the Dodgers from bankruptcy. Selig, McCourt and the other parties still could challenge Fox's demand for depositions, and Gross could decide whether to allow them.]
McCourt has agreed to sell the Dodgers and wants to sell the television rights at the same time, even though the Dodgers' contract with Fox forbids the team from negotiating with another television outlet before Nov. 30, 2012. McCourt and his attorneys say that provision should be declared unenforceable, in the interest of trying to command the highest possible sale price for the debtors.
— Bill Shaikin
Photo: MLB Commissioner Bud Selig takes part in news conference before the start of Game 7 of the World Series. Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images