SBD/October 10, 2011/Media

Nationals Looking To Renegotiate Local TV Deal In Hopes Of Higher Rights Fee

Nationals looking to boost rights fees in renegotiations of local TV deal
The Nationals have hired media consultant Chris Bevilacqua “to help the franchise redo its local TV deal, which should result in a significantly higher rights fee for a team that had baseball’s smallest local RSN viewership last season,” according to John Ourand in this week’s SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL. Sources said that the Nationals “currently get around $29 million per year” from MASN. However, as part of the deal MLB signed with MASN “when it ran the Nationals franchise in 2005, an automatic ‘reset’ was included every five years to make sure that the deal still falls within market value.” Bevilacqua and the Nationals need to “demonstrate that the team deserves a higher rights fee,” while MASN majority owner Peter Angelos, who also owns the Orioles, will “try to show that the Nationals’ rights fee is not out of whack.” If the sides do not reach a deal, the case “will go through an arbitration process.” The team’s rights “will not go out to the open market as part of this reset” (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 10/10 issue). Nationals' game telecasts on MASN/MASN2 finished with the lowest number of average households among all MLB RSNs for the '11 regular season (THE DAILY).
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