Major League Baseball Embroiled in Explosive Legal War Over TV Deals (Exclusive) – The Hollywood Reporter
Over MLB Commissioner Bud Selig’s stern warning, the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles hurl accusations at each other and have stepped into open court spilling secrets.
Break out the popcorn! The corrupt bargain that gave Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles the Washington Nationals television rights may be unraveling.
What’s been kept under wraps until now is that on June 30, the MLB committee adjudicating the dispute issued its decision, which favored the Nationals. That prompted attorneys to swing into high gear and Commissioner Selig to attempt to get out in front of the situation.
“I am deeply saddened by the fact that you have not been able to resolve amicably the pending broadcast rights dispute,” wrote Selig in a letter to Angelos and Nationals owner Ted Lerner, obtained by The Hollywood Reporter.
Selig doesn’t think either side is working in the best interest of the game, but c’mon Bud, if the Nats won they are entitled to the spoils of victory, so there is this:
I want there to be no doubt that, if any party initiates any lawsuit, or fails to act in strict compliance with the procedures set forth in the Agreement concerning the [Revenue Sharing
Definitions Committee of Major League Baseball]’s decision, I will not hesitate to impose the strongest sanctions available to me under the Major League Constitution.”
The Nats can’t initiate a lawsuit to rightfully claim what is theirs?
On July 1, Stephen Neuwirth, an attorney at Quinn Emanuel representing the Nationals, responded by telling MASN that thanks to the decision, the club was owed an additional $10 million for rights-fee payments due on April 1 and June 1 and warning of an impending deadline of default.
Two days later, Neuwirth provided formal notice of defaults and warned MASN to cure the defaults lest the team “seek all appropriate remedies for nonpayment, including (without limitation) termination of MASN’s license to telecast Nationals games.”
His threats didn’t achieve the desired result, so on July 7, the Nationals petitioned the MLB Commissioner’s Office to confirm and enforce the June 30 decision.
I am uncharacteristically happy about this news, I’m so used to it being bad for the Nats. However, it could still blow up because Selig’s track record is coddling Angelos and to a lesser extent the Orioles.
What would victory mean for Nats fans?
- Switching to a new channel (which if it’s completely new, could mean higher fees and/or service interruption)
- The satisfaction over beating Angelos & Orioles (though Angelos won the moment his channel aired a Nats game)
- More team revenue so good players are easier to retain and obtain
The funny thing is, the impact on the Orioles is probably minor, since Angelos clearly isn’t investing the MASN money in the team.
Like I said in February, Ted Leonsis must be watching with great interest — he could be the biggest winner out of all.
I’ll may add to this as more comes out.
Angelos got control of the Nats TV rights, got his own network with two teams, but is getting burned because cable television rights have skyrocketed. His deal turned out to be a bad one which is a little bit of karma. He wanted to intrefere in the affairs of another team and it might burn him. It’d serve him right.
flickr photo by above Joshua Bousel used under Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0) license