While you were putting the finishing touches on Thanksgiving leftovers over the weekend, Deadline.com reported the particulars of Fox’s latest proposal to retain the Dodgers’ television rights: Between $6 and $7 billion over 25 years.
That seems like a strong pitch, indicative of the Dodgers’ place in Fox’s local programming slate with no Lakers, no NFL (and for the moment, no NHL either). For the Dodgers, it represents a significant increase over the reported $39 million Fox will pay for TV rights in 2013, the final year of the current contract. Yet it may not be enough to sway Dodgers co-owner Todd Boehly, whom Deadline reports is the lone negotiator for Guggenheim Baseball Management. The Dodgers could elect to start their own regional network, á la the Yankees or the Red Sox, but to do so means Guggenheim must turn down a profit margin of $4 billion-plus on the $2 billion it paid for the club earlier this year.
The exclusive negotiating window between Fox and the Dodgers closes in four days.
A few observations:
• Fox is attempting to launch a national sports network to challenge ESPN. Other than the money, the promise of greater national exposure would appear to be a cornerstone of any Fox pitch, something Time Warner or a team-owned regional network can’t offer.
• One thing a Dodgers regional network can offer that all other parties can’t: Far lower revenue-sharing obligations as part of a reported “secret deal” with MLB. This could be the kicker.
• An important question to be resolved: Would the Dodgers have the final say over Fox on hiring reporters and other Dodgers broadcast personnel – as seems to be the case with Time Warner Cable and the Lakers?
• Another question: How much does Vin Scully drive up the value of the Dodgers’ TV rights?