Tag Archives: TV

Cut the cord? Not until the 2030s, Capitals, Wizards fans; MASN scores a victory against Nats, fans

Ted Leonsis, majority owner of Monumental Sports & Entertainment (the Washington Capitals, Wizards, Mystics and Verizon Center) will apparently sign a deal with Comcast that keeps his teams on CSN-Mid Atlantic through 2032, according to Sports Business Journal.

As part of the deal, Leonsis gets a third of the network. He had created “Monumental Network” that broadcast video content related to his teams and seemingly to get CSN concerned he’d start his own RSN. It looks like it worked.

I speculated that Leonsis could be the big winner in the Nationals-MASN/Angelos/Orioles dispute since having winter sports programming would seemingly be desirable for either MASN or CSN. John Ourand, the SBJ article’s author and avowed Baltimore Orioles fanboy, says that MASN was never that interested.

As for MASN and Angelos, they won in court last week (The Post) as their battle against the Nats and Washingtonians continues. MASN/Angelos still haven’t increased their payment to the Nats over broadcast rights that were due in 2012. The Orioles would get the same. We can only hope when new values are set, they come in even higher because all that this does is make MLB have to restart the process which could push the values higher. It’s an odd tactic for them and probably based only in spite rather than sensible business practices because why wouldn’t you want to have two more major teams with roughly 170 available games, most of which are not during baseball season? I guess that’s the Oriole Way at work – bad people making bad decisions.

I’m pleased that Leonsis, who may to try to use Baltimore as leverage against DC for upgrades/new arena in the 2020s, didn’t get in bed with Angelos, but disappointed that this likely means I’ll need to stick with cable if I want to watch the Caps and Wiz.

More on the Nats tomorrow…

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Jim Bouton’s “Ball Four” was turned into a TV series featuring a Washington baseball team

New to me — through Mark Hornbaker’s Washington D.C. Baseball History Facebook group, I learned that Jim Bouton starred in a sitcom based on his book, Ball Four. Unlike the book that detailed his time on the Seattle Pilots, the team here is called the Washington Americans. The opening features a shot of RFK Stadium:

It apparently lasted five episodes, though the whole season was filmed. Harry Chapin sang the opening song and former Oakland Raiders great Ben Davidson made his triumphant return to Washington (he played for the 1962-1963 Redskins), so it couldn’t have been all bad. I’ll admit, it’d be fun to have an Americans replica jersey.

Has anybody milked a book for as long as often as Bouton did with Ball Four?

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Nats: Angelos/Orioles delay MASN trial into 2015

The Washington Nationals grievances against Peter Angelos and the Baltimore Orioles will have to wait until March to get addressed in court, according to a report from The PostMASN hearing pushed to March after discovery dispute entangles Commissioner Rob Manfred

The legal saga between the Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will drag for months longer than previously expected after a skirmish over discovery bumped a pivotal trial date from December to March and entangled incoming commissioner Rob Manfred. The delay ensures the Nationals will not receive a potential financial windfall until after this offseason.

We won’t know until March at the earliest whether there is anything to this and if there is, whether it was deliberate incompetence by MLB or just the standard variety. Nonetheless, it’s bad news for the Nats, who will continue to be low-balled on television revenue.

It’s probably also a loss for the Orioles franchise and their fans.

The corrupt bargain MLB imposed on the Nats and their fans states that both franchises receive the same broadcast fees, so the business side of the Baltimore franchise is also being short-changed. Angelos owns roughly 80% of MASN, so he pockets most of the profits personally. Now, perhaps there is some trickle-down from him, but that seems rather unlikely. Avarice and spite are his ethos, though I cannot say which is stronger.

Should the Nats ultimately prevail in this round, it will not be much of a victory. To summarize, here is how the arrangement has worked using the bully in the cafeteria model.

In 2004, the Orioles were the bully who wasn’t even letting the Nats into the school cafeteria. In 2005, the bully grudgingly acquiesced to let the Nats in, but they weren’t allowed to sit at a table. At the end of 2006, the bully let the Nats have some table scraps and a chair and acted like he was doing the Nats a favor. The principal went along with it and told the Nats they should be thankful. In 2012, the principal thought that maybe the Nats deserved a seat and some more lunch, but wouldn’t say so directly, appointing three other students to make the decision. The bully did not accept the decision and was willing to have a smaller lunch, just so that the Nats would have a smaller lunch too. The principal retired, leaving behind the vice principal who may have not followed school policy.

It’s a mess and it puts the Nats in a tougher spot moving forward, as illustrated in last week’s WTOP story The Nationals’ financial dilemma. The author, sports editor Noah Frank, formerly worked for the Nats and thus has more of an insider understanding and hometown bias which I welcome given the Baltimore bias much of the DC sports media.

Overall, the Nats are losing this war and the Lerner family is just battling to improve the terms of the occupation.

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