|Wednesday, January 22
Updated: March 13, 4:39 PM ET
Report: If Dodgers are selling, Checketts wants in
LOS ANGELES -- Former New York sports executive David Checketts has made a $650 million offer to buy the Los Angeles Dodgers, but the deal must include one of News Corp.'s moneymaking cable channels, the Los Angeles Times reported Wednesday.
Checketts, the former president of Madison Square Garden, made his pitch Monday, according to the newspaper, which cited anonymous sources.
News Corp., owner of the Dodgers, had no immediate comment, but chairman Rupert Murdoch has indicated in the past that he would be willing to sell the team, the Times said.
Checketts is believed to be the only potential buyer to have provided a purchase price -- one that includes a value for the team, its 300-acre stadium site and Fox Sports Net 2, the channel that broadcasts the team's games.
"It would be premature for me to comment on anything at this time," Checketts told the Times.
Sources told the newspaper that one of the biggest hurdles for the sale would be the company's reluctance to let go of any of its regional sports channels. The channels have only recently begun making money.
In initial negotiations several months ago, Murdoch agreed to give up a piece of Fox Sports Net 2 to Checketts as part of the deal, but was unwilling to sell the entire channel, the Times said.
Talks of a possible sale come at a time when News Corp. needs cash to fulfill its longtime goal of buying satellite TV provider DirecTV, which would cost more than $4.5 billion.
Earlier this month, the company denied any active plans to sell the Dodgers after speculation surfaced in Australia, where News Corp. is based. Major League Baseball, which must be notified of any serious offers, has said it has no knowledge of a possible sale.
News Corp. bought the Dodgers from the O'Malley family in 1997 for a then-record $310 million.
Checketts, a native of Utah, started in professional sports with the Utah Jazz. In 1994, he was appointed to run Madison Square Garden, which oversees the New York Knicks and New York Rangers.
But in 2001, amid disappointing results, Checketts was forced out by the Dolan family, which owns Madison Square Garden.