March 31, 2005
Details are still lacking, but it appears that Peter Angelos got most of what he wanted in the deal over broadcast rights that was reached with MLB officials today. Once again, I'm appalled but not surprised. The Orioles will control an unspecified majority of the new network:
Under the agreement, sources had said yesterday, newly created Mid-Atlantic Sports would pay the Nationals a rights fee and distribute 76 of the club's games to WTTG-5 and WDCA-20, two Fox-owned broadcast stations in Washington. SOURCE: Washington Post
On the bright side, broadcasting that many games on the open air waves will help to promote greater public interest in the Nationals, about which many people in Virginia and the Capital Region are still only vaguely aware. Unfortunately, Commissioner Selig raised new doubts about his capacity to enforce discipline and fair play on the MLB owners with this comment:
I also want to commend my friend, Peter Angelos. He was relentless in his desire to preserve and protect the Baltimore Orioles franchise now, and for future generations. His concerns, which he expressed often and well, were not about himself or his ownership interest, but rather to establish a means by which to ensure the future viability of the Orioles franchise. I don't know many other people who would have fought so vigorously for such purposes. SOURCE: mlb.com
Ugh. What a lame excuse for blatant monopolistic behavior. This broadcast agreement, which does not fully go into effect until next year, is supposedly modeled after existing arrangements in mega-cities with overlapping team areas. In the case of New York, however, there seems to be no interaction between the Yankees Entertainment & Sports Network ("YES") and the Mets, whose games are broadcast locally by Fox Sports New York, WPIX-TV, and "Madison Square Garden Network." Speaking of YES, here's a suggested alternative name for the new Baltimore-Washington baseball network: just use the initials of the two teams, Nationals and Orioles, to create the acronym "NO."