As we’ve seen recently, local TV revenue is the sweetest plum for ballclubs these days. If you’re up for a new TV deal right now, you’re rolling in dough.
But what if you’re not? What if, like the Nationals and Orioles, you’re sharing one? Then you run into the sort of thing Ken Rosenthal is reporting here:
Now, according to sources, a panel of baseball officials will decide what the two teams could not resolve in negotiations — the annual rights fee that the Nationals will receive from MASN.
The matter went to arbitration after talks between the Orioles and Nationals sputtered. While there is no known deadline for a decision, the panel is meeting regularly due to the urgency of the situation, sources say.
The problem, as Rosenthal reports, is that the fee the two teams share from MASN is to be re-set at market rates every five years. What market rates are right now is up for debate. And given that the Orioles have a way bigger piece of MASN than the Nats do, you can understand that they might have a much different opinion of exactly what those rates are.
Get used to this, folks. Not the sharing thing so much — it’s not that common — but the notion of teams going to war with someone, somewhere over just how much it’s worth to them to allow a network to broadcast their games.