SBD/July 16, 2014/Media

Selig Confident In Orioles-Nationals MASN Dispute Being Settled Before Retirement

MLB Commissioner Bud Selig yesterday expressed confidence the long-running MASN media rights dispute between the Nationals and Orioles could be solved before he retires, saying there is a “good chance” of a resolution in the next several months. Selig said, “We’ve spent an enormous amount of time on this. We’re working through a lot of really tough detail. When you have two clubs that have differences in opinions, they’re very complex subjects. My objective is to keep away from what used to go on in this sport, where you had owners fighting owners publicly. So we’re working through a lot of difficulty. I’m satisfied we’re at least moving in the right direction." (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer). In DC, Adam Kilgore noted Selig in recent years has "shied from timetables and specifics," stating only that the issue had "dragged on longer than he thought, never suggesting the end may be in sight." The Orioles and Owner Peter Angelos have "fought to protect the contractual promises made when the Nationals moved from Montreal" in '05. The Lerner family, which owns the Nationals, has "sought to increase" its share of "profits from rights fees, which would allow the billionaires to increase payroll" (, 7/15).

L.A. STORY: Selig was more downbeat on the status of the Dodgers’ ongoing carriage issues following their record-setting rights deal to create Time Warner Cable SportsNet LA, and said he has been in contact with the involved stakeholders. Selig: “I have great concerns about it. I’ve spent a lot of time trying to be helpful" (Fisher). In this week's SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, John Ourand reports the Dodgers this season are "posting their lowest RSN ratings ever" with a 0.74 average local rating, down 70% from last year on FS Prime Ticket. The numbers also are "well below" those of the cross-town rival Angels. Ourand: "The reason for the ratings drop-off comes down to one word: distribution" (SPORTSBUSINESS JOURNAL, 7/14 issue). In L.A., Bill Plaschke notes the feud between carriers "reached another ridiculous level Sunday when SportsNet LA took out a full-page ad" in the L.A. Times "to rip DirecTV." But fans "just want their Dodgers on TV, and they are going to ultimately hold the Dodgers responsible for an unnecessary and unworkable money grab from reckless SportsNet LA, which now has to charge untenable prices to DirecTV and other pay-TV operators to make this work." This is a "mess of historic proportions," and there "might be only a slim chance at a solution before the end of the season" (L.A. TIMES, 7/16).
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