Padres CEO Moorad withdraws ownership application
By BERNIE WILSON
(AP) -- San Diego Padres CEO Jeff Moorad on Friday withdrew his application to baseball to finalize his purchase of the club in order to focus on getting MLB's approval for the team's new TV deal with Fox.
Moorad owns 49 percent of the Padres. He and a group of investors were set to buy the remainder from majority owner John Moores in January, but fellow owners deferred a vote on the proposed transfer, saying they needed clarification on financial information.
"With opening day less than one month away, John Moores and I believe our top priority is to ensure that Padres fans will be able to watch broadcasts of what we believe is an exciting team," Moorad said in a statement. "I remain fully committed to the San Diego Padres and our fans, and am looking forward to the 2012 season."
The Padres declined further comment.
The move could be temporary. It's possible that Moorad is waiting for the sale of the bankrupt Los Angeles Dodgers to be completed by the end of April before resubmitting his application. The next owners meeting is scheduled for May 16-17.
There has been speculation that Moorad would use money from the TV deal to help pay off Moores rather than pump it into the player payroll of a team that finished 71-91 in 2011, last in the NL West.
MLB spokesman Pat Courtney said it's possible that the TV deal could be approved even though control of the franchise hasn't been transferred to Moorad.
Moorad, a former player agent, began purchase of the club on an installment basis before the 2009 season. Since then, there have been questions about whether Moorad has enough money to complete the deal. Moorad and his group have five years to complete the purchase. They had been looking to accelerate the process.
Commissioner Bud Selig hinted that Moorad's move was temporary. Selig said in a statement that Moorad is withdrawing his control transfer application "at this time in order to focus on completing the club's local television contract. I am pleased that John and Jeff are working on ensuring that the club's games will be televised this season and beyond, and I know that they are acting in the best interests of Baseball, the franchise and the great fans of San Diego."
The Padres reportedly will make $30 million in the first year of their 20-year deal with Fox, approximately double what they made in the final year of their previous deal with Cox.
Fox plans to broadcast five of the Padres' spring training games. The Padres open the regular season at home against the Dodgers on April 5.
Updated March 9, 2012