MLB Team and Television Network Still Unable to Reach a Settlement
The Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals baseball clubs have been unable to reach an agreement regarding tens of millions of dollars in fees for the right to televise baseball games. The two clubs will not pursue mediation in an effort to resolve the dispute that has been ongoing for more than four years.
Recently, court documents were filed and New York Supreme Court Justice Lawrence K. Marks said private mediation was requested by the clubs’ attorneys. They will be selecting their own mediator and intend to start the process in mid-April.
It is yet another opportunity for the teams to resolve their grievances without much interference from Major League Baseball. The organization had been attempting to broker a deal between the clubs to avoid court, and even threatened sanctions if the clubs proceeded to litigation. The sanctions, however, were never enforced.
The dispute revolves around the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), which is shared between the clubs. The Nationals argue MASN, which is owned primarily by the Orioles, should be paying millions of dollars for the rights to show Nationals’ games. They claim they are not receiving fair-market value, which puts them at a disadvantage when it comes to competing in their market – baseball teams earn much of their revenue from television broadcasts.
The Orioles, and MASN, claim the Nationals are receiving fair market value under the terms of their 2005 agreement.
The Orioles have been a proponent of mediation to resolve the dispute for some time, but it wasn’t until a judge was likely to require it that the Nationals relented. The mediation will be facilitated by Boston-based professor Eric Green, who is known for mediating a Microsoft antitrust case.