MLB committee to O's: Pay Nats MASN money


The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network may soon have to pay up.

MASN, the TV sports network controlled by the Baltimore Orioles, must pay the Washington Nationals tens of millions of dollars in broadcast rights fees from past years under an arbitration panel’s ruling, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.
In a long-awaited committee ruling by Major League Baseball, the Nationals have been awarded $100 million — or $20 million a year — in added fees covering 2012 through 2016, sources have told The Sun's Jeff Barker. 

However, the Nats won't really get the nearly $100 million payout. MASN must restate its financial results for the five-year period covered in the ruling. With MASN paying more in rights fees there is less available for profits, and Barker reports, after the adjustments, Washington would net about $60 to $70 million. 

And MASN, which is owned by the two franchises with the Baltimore controlling 79 percent to Washington's 21 percent, may still appeal the arbitration panel's decision to the courts. However, it is uncertain if MASN and the Orioles will do so.

Barker reported Maryland Governor Larry Hogan wrote a letter to MLB commissioner Rob Manfred expressing his concern over the dispute between the Orioles and Nationals. Hogan offered to assist in mediating the dispute and said he is pausing serious discussions between the O's and the Maryland Stadium Authority for a new lease at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. 
“The iconic Oriole Park at Camden Yards is twenty-seven years old and will require significant reinvestment. However, due to the lingering uncertainty, we are unable to meaningfully plan for the future of perhaps the greatest ballpark in the game,” he said in an August 31 letter obtained by The Sun. “Thus, I ask you to immediately facilitate discussions to bring this matter to a resolution that is beneficial to all parties.”

“The issue of MASN TV rights is of great concern to me for its potential negative impact on the Orioles, the City of Baltimore, and the State of Maryland,” Hogan wrote.

The present dispute, in its sixth year, dates to a 2005 agreement the Orioles reached with MLB which allowed the Baltimore franchise to take the majority share of MASN's profits permanently after losing the Washington TV market when the Nats arrived from Montreal.

The Nationals have described the current MASN structure as “heavily lopsided” in the Orioles' favor.

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