MASN Case Takes Turn As Orioles, Nats Feud Over RSN's Profits
The long-running MASN dispute between the Orioles and Nationals has hit another flashpoint as the two clubs have now added a legal skirmish over profit distributions from the RSN to the existing one surrounding rights fees that has been ongoing for nearly eight years. The Orioles-controlled MASN has held back the most recent annual profit distribution from the Nationals, estimated in the mid-to-high seven figures. It is awaiting a new ruling from MLB’s internal arbitration body, the Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee, which met in November and is expected to render a ruling soon. The withholding of those funds, sources said, was done to avoid needing to claw back the money depending on the outcome of the RSDC rehearing. Sources said a similar withholding was done for the Orioles, the senior partner in MASN with an 80% equity stake. The Nationals, the junior partner in the RSN, have petitioned the N.Y. Supreme Court for the funds and are attempting to block an Orioles attempt to move this profit distributions dispute to the American Arbitration Association. The Orioles are contending the profit distributions issue cannot go before MLB because the league previously lent the Nationals $25M in ’15 as an advance toward additional rights fee money that Nationals Owner Mark Lerner and his family believe they are owed, and is not seen as impartial on this matter.