The Los Angeles Dodgers started early discussions with Fox Sports about a cable TV deal worth billions back in May, Reuters reports.
As THR previously reported, the baseball franchise — currently undergoing a makeover with flashy new hires, a remodeled Dodger Stadium and new ownership that includes Earvin "Magic" Johnson and Hollywood heavyweight Peter Guber — has begun preliminary talks and will formally advance the conversation with Fox starting Oct. 15, when gates open for an exclusive 45-day negotiating period.
Among the topics being discussed, according to Reuters, is joint ownership of English- and Spanish-language networks. There was also acknowledgment on both sides that a deal would surpass the $3 billion-over-20-years pact that ex-Dodgers owner Frank McCourt signed with Fox last year and rejected by Major League Baseball commissioner Bud Selig.
PHOTOS: The Faces Of The Dodgers: The New Blood And The Stalwarts
The Dodgers-Fox television arrangement expires at the end of the 2013, leading to speculation as to whether the team will score the richest TV deal ever in pro sports. One option is for the Dodgers to start its own network, Yankees-style, with potential spoils of $8.5 billion in TV revenue.
Later this fall, a bidding war for TV rights is expected between Fox Sports, which now airs games along with L.A’.s KCAL, and Time Warner Cable, which signed the Lakers to an agreement last year that could be worth $5 billion over 25 years.
Last spring, Johnson, Guber and other owners stepped in to purchase the Dogers from the beleaguered McCourt for $2.15 billion.
Over the weekend, the Dodgers closed their biggest-ever trade, scoring Adrian Gonzalez, Josh Beckett, Carl Crawford and Nick Punto in a trade-off of players including James Loney in which the team incurs $260 million in salaries. In a press conference, Johnson proclaimed: "We want to win now."
(New York- and Chicago-based Guggenheim Baseball Management is co-owner with Pluribus Capital Management of Prometheus Global Media, the parent company of THR.)
For more on the Dodgers’ reboot, check out THR‘s recent cover story, which includes unprecedented access to the star players, managers past and present, iconic broadcasters and Johnson, too.