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When a group bought the Los Angeles Dodgers earlier this year for $2.15 billion, it certainly raised a lot of eyebrows. Well, according to Bloomberg.com, the Dodgers had a secret deal in place with Major League Baseball to limit how much of their television revenue they would have to share with the other 29 teams, thus increasing the franchise’s value to prospective owners.According to the deal, the amount of television revenue that would be subjected to MLB’s revenue sharing each year would be capped at $84 million. That’s a lot. But then consider that the Dodger’s next TV deal could be worth over $250 million per season. That means the Dodgers could potentially skim nearly $200 million off the top every year before having to share a dime with their fellow teams.
According to Bloomberg, the deal was put into place to help get the Dodgers out of bankruptcy in 2011. And while MLB claims they briefed other owners, it is unclear how much of this deal they were aware of and if anybody yet knows the extent of the protection from revenue sharing.
When Mark Cuban bowed out of the bidding for the Dodgers, he said the other suitors were more interested in purchasing the TV deal than in buying a baseball club. And this secret deal now makes it clear why the Dodgers sold for a price 75 per cent above what Forbes.com had estimated the team to be worth.
And as Michael Kramer, the former president of the Texas Rangers told Bloomberg, a lot of other teams are going to be asking, “where’s mine?”
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