Dodgers media hearing canceled

DOVER, Del. -- A Delaware bankruptcy judge has appointed a mediator to try to resolve a dispute between Fox Sports and the Los Angeles Dodgers over the ball club's plan to sell media rights to future games.

The judge entered an order Monday appointing the mediator shortly after the judge canceled a hearing that had been set for Tuesday on Fox's request to postpone a Nov. 30 hearing on whether to approve the Dodgers' proposed media rights marketing process. That hearing will proceed next week as scheduled barring a further order from the court.

The judge appointed retired U.S. District Judge Joseph Farnan Jr. to mediate the dispute between Fox and the Dodgers. The mediation will begin Nov. 28 in Los Angeles.

The judge previously had appointed Farnan to mediate the Dodgers' dispute with Major League Baseball over the team's reorganization plan. The Dodgers and MLB subsequently reached a settlement calling for a court-supervised sale of both the team and the media rights.

But Fox has complained that it was not privy to the settlement between MLB and the Dodgers. It contends that the planned media rights sales would violate its existing contract, and that it can't be evaluated properly without knowing the terms of the settlement between the league and the Dodgers. The settlement agreement has yet to be filed with the court.

But the Dodgers have refused to postpone the hearing, accusing Fox and its Prime Ticket regional sports network of trying to interfere with efforts to sell the team and its assets so that it can emerge from bankruptcy.

Late last week, Fox filed a motion to dismiss the bankruptcy case, arguing that it was an improper effort by Dodgers owner Frank McCourt to protect his own financial interests, not the team's.

The Dodgers sought bankruptcy protection in June, blaming MLB Commissioner Bud Selig for refusing to approve a renegotiated multibillion-dollar TV deal with Fox that McCourt was counting on to keep the franchise solvent.