One of the power brokers in American sports has aligned himself with former Dodger stars Steve Garvey and Orel Hershiser in their effort to buy the team, according to two people briefed on the matter.
Harvey Schiller, the former president of the International Baseball Federation, would provide Garvey and Hershiser with expertise in the business side of sports, particularly in television.
[UPDATED, 5:23 p.m.: Garvey confirmed that his group has joined forces with Schiller.
["We are fortunate and blessed to have a partner of Harvey Schiller's stature, who shares our vision for the future of the Dodgers, the city of Los Angeles and our great baseball fans throughout the world," Garvey said.]
It is uncertain whether Garvey and Hershiser have secured enough financing to advance in the Dodgers ownership derby, and their bid is considered a longshot. Schiller has met with other bid groups and could join one if the Garvey-Hershiser bid is rejected, one of the people said.
[UPDATED, 9:33 p.m.: Schiller has consulted with the Garvey-Hershiser group but has no formal agreement or official role with the group, according to a person who spoke directly with Schiller.]
Schiller formerly was the chief executive of YankeeNets, the onetime parent company of the New York Yankees, New Jersey Nets and New Jersey Devils. That entity spawned YES Network, the kind of team-owned cable sports channel that the new Dodgers owner would have the option to launch.
Schiller also is a former president of Turner Sports and executive director of the U.S. Olympic Committee.
The Dodgers' contract with Fox Sports expires after the 2013 season. A new owner could expect to reap about $4 billion in a new deal with Fox or Time Warner Cable -- or could start a Dodgers cable channel in the hope of making even more money. Outgoing owner Frank McCourt hopes that media companies will try to secure the Dodgers' television rights by buying the team outright, which could push the sale price above $1.5 billion.
Schiller was not available for comment Thursday.
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Photo: Former Dodgers star Steve Garvey. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times