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The statement could be construed as saying McCourt is giving up his attempt to sell future broadcast rights. Instead of publicly filing papers, lawyers for the parties met in chambers Wednesday with Gross, a person familiar with the session said, speaking on condition of anonymity because there was no announcement. The person said MLB may pre-approve bidders before the auction.

The last two sales of the Dodgers were anything but swift.

Having taken control of the team in 1950 when it still played at Brooklyn’s Ebbets Field, the O’Malley family announced it wanted to sell in January 1997. Baseball’s ownership committee gave approval that July to draft an agreement with the Fox Entertainment Group subsidiary of Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. The deal, valued at $311 million, wasn’t approved until March 1998.

Fox began seeking possible buyers in 2002 and announced an agreement with McCourt in October 2003. MLB approved the deal the following Jan. 29, but it then took several weeks for the $421 million sale to close on Feb. 13.

And since then, Schieffer said, McCourt has fractured the franchise, ballpark and land into 26 interlocking entities.


AP Baseball Writer Janie McCauley, AP Sports Writers Jimmy Golen and Chris Jenkins, and AP Business Writer Ryan Nakashima contributed to this report.