NEW YORK — Rupert Murdoch is closer to a sale of the Los Angeles Dodgers to Malcolm Glazer for between $400 million and $450 million, but some serious hangups remain.
With the parameters for the Dodgers deal established, the focus has shifted to overcoming a number of impediments coming from the NFL.
Glazer, who owns the Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay Buccaneers, surfaced a few months ago as a serious buyer of not only the Dodgers, but also Dodger Stadium, the team’s Florida training facility and its Dominican Republic holdings. (Murdoch’s Fox Sports West regional cable networks are not part of the deal.)
The NFL has exacting rules that make it difficult for one individual to own both an NFL team and a franchise in another professional sport. Under a strict reading of the rules, Glazer would have to sell the Buccaneers, because an individual can own two teams only if both reside in the same city.
But that prohibition creates an opposite roadblock: The NFL would frown on Glazer’s purchase of the Dodgers because Los Angeles soon could be home to an NFL expansion franchise.
One scenario making the rounds is that the NFL would ask Glazer to sell the Buccaneers in exchange for a commitment by the league to give him first crack if it decides to add a new football team in L.A.
But the NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue said three months ago that all of these difficulties might be skirted if Glazer steps aside and allows his son Ed, a VP of the Buccaneers, to be listed as the buyer and owner of the Dodgers.
As the complicated talks between Glazer and the Dodgers continue, most pundits said the parties won’t complete a formal takeover, at the earliest, until the baseball team rings down the curtain on the 2003 season.