Faced with reported opposition from other MLB owners, Jeff Moorad has withdrawn his application to buy the San Diego Padres — a move that could prove to be merely temporary.
The issue, as reported in a Padres press release, was a desire by the team to expedite the finalizing of the team’s new broadcast deal with Fox Sports for 2012 and beyond, a deal that will fill the team coffer with needed dollars:
The San Diego Padres today announced that Vice Chairman and CEO Jeff Moorad has withdrawn his application to Major League Baseball for a control transfer, in order to expedite MLB approval of the club’s television broadcasting agreement.
“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 baseball team,” said Moorad. “I remain fully committed to the San Diego Padres and our fans, and am looking forward to the 2012 season.”
But the real reason, according to multiple sources, has more to do with Moorad’s group lacking the votes needed among MLB owners to approve the sale of the team. Moorad and his group controls 49 percent of the team (John Moores has the majority share), and Moorad has been running the Padres as CEO. As Phil Rogers reports, Moorad’s tenure has been marked by way too much front-office turnover (three GMs in four years, with Kevin Towers departing and Jed Hoyer fleeing), and there’s some doubt as to whether the group has the financial resources needed to succeed. The Fox Sports broadcast deal will help allay many of those fears, so the delay may be only temporary, something that Bud Selig hinted at in a press release:
“I have spoken with San Diego Padres Chairman John Moores and Vice Chairman/CEO Jeff Moorad. They have informed me that Jeff is withdrawing his control transfer application of the Padres 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.”
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