MLB Commissioner Expresses Frustration Over MASN, Nationals Rights Fees Dispute
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig during his annual meeting with the Baseball Writers Association of America yesterday in K.C. showed palpable frustration long-running TV rights fee dispute between the Nationals and MASN and said he wished it had been solved "a month ago." Selig, who was making his first substantive on-the-record comments on the issue, did not detail the status of the dispute, though he did characterized the negotiations as "very intense." However, Selig said he did not regret the original '05 settlement between the Orioles, MASN majority owners, and MLB that created the RSN and paved the way for the Expos to relocate to DC. "It's a matter that was very complicated," Selig said. "You can second-guess anything in history. ... We just have to work our way through this. And disputes between clubs are not uncommon. That's why we have a commissioner" (Eric Fisher, SportsBusiness Journal). In DC, Adam Kilgore wrote the Nationals and MASN are in a "‘reset’ period in their contract that allows the Nationals to argue for a bigger share of the revenue generated by their television rights.” The Nationals are “hoping to at least triple their share of $29 million from last year,” while Orioles Owner Peter Angelos is "arguing for a much, much lower cut.” The case is “currently being arbitrated by the commissioner’s office, consisting of a three-member committee with representatives from both teams.” The Nationals currently own “roughly 11 percent of MASN, and their stake will grow at roughly one percent per year until they own one-third of the regional sports network” (WASHINGTONPOST.com, 7/10).