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Court Filings Shed Light on Dodgers Financial Plans

Bill Shaikin of the Los Angeles Times and John Emshwiller of the Wall Street Journal bring the news that Jamie McCourt, in her court filing seeking to double her temporary monthly spousal support to $988,845, had revealed specific information about the Dodgers' financial state.

There is a ton of information in both stories, and Joshua Fisher of Dodger Divorce does a nice job highlighting the main points.  Here is what I'm interested in.  From Shaikin:

The Dodgers appear to be a sound stand-alone business, based on records cited in the filing. The Dodgers' revenue has nearly doubled under McCourt management, from $156 million in 2003 to $295 million in 2008. The team generated $285 million last year and projects $290 million this year.

In 2003, the Dodgers reported a loss of $56 million. In 2008, they reported a profit of $23 million. (The Dodgers just about broke even last year, a high-ranking baseball source has told The Times, speaking on condition of anonymity because the clubs need not disclose financial results publicly.)

Even with the economic downturn, the revenues look pretty constant from 2008-2010.  MLB club finances are usually locked away in an underground bunker deep in the Colorado mountains, so any type of information like this that leaks out probably won't sit well with Bud Selig and company.  Per Emshwiller:

An attorney for Mr. McCourt described Ms. McCourts filings as "astonishing" and a "scorched-earth spin campaign" that is "clearly designed to harm the reputation and livelihood of others."

The other big news revolves around the plans to build new revenue streams in the form of a combined ownership group and a new sports network.  From Emshwiller:

Ms. McCourt's attorneys included in their filings a private placement memorandum, dated May 2009, where Mr. McCourt appears to be proposing to sell a share in the Dodgers as part of the creation of a global sports enterprise. The memorandum said that an entity---Global Sports Partnership LLC, to be run by Mr. McCourt's operation---would own the Dodgers and professional soccer teams in England and China. The memorandum was offering to sell a 7% stake in Global Sports for $150 million. The memorandum shows it was being presented to Citic Group, a Chinese industrial and financial conglomerate. The memorandum quotes Mr. McCourt welcoming Citic "as a founding partner" of Global Sports.

From Shaikin:

The Dodgers intend to launch cable channels in English and Spanish in 2014, after the expiration of their contract with FSN, with annual profit projections of at least $150 million, according to documents in the filing. Alternatively, the Dodgers estimate they also could sign a five-year extension with FSN for $300 million, according to the deposition of a club executive.

This gives some perspective of just how much television rights are worth, or at least the perception of what they are worth.

This war of words will get worse before it gets better, but it's good that this information is now available.