Nats-MASN TV Decision On Hold
By Dave Hughes
Major League Baseball officials delayed until July their decision in the dispute between the Washington Nationals and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network about the value of the team's television rights deal.
According to The Washington Examiner's Jim Williams, the two sides were about $70 million apart in their evaluations of what the Nationals' television rights were worth. The Nationals' estimate of their TV rights is about $100 million per year, while MASN representatives contend that low TV ratings and a weak fan base mean the bump should be from $29 million to $35 million per year.
"A MASN victory would be bad business for other teams looking to cash in on the wave of higher rights fees," Williams wrote in The Examiner. "MLB also is mindful that the Nationals and MASN could go to court if they feel the [MLB's rights] committee's decision is unfair.
"The truth is that if the Nationals' rights were open for bidding -- which they aren't -- Comcast probably would sign them to a long-term deal at or near the $100 million-a-year range. So a big payday for Washington is coming soon."
Williams stressed that because of a clause in the MASN contract that the Orioles would get the same rights fees as the Nationals, the future of the network is at stake. According to multiple industry sources, MASN can't afford to pay both teams more than $50 million per year.
Early next year, CBS plans to launch "CBS Sports Radio," a 24/7 lineup of national sports programming.
CBS will carry the new network full time in Baltimore on CBS-owned 1300, WJZ-AM, currently the home of ESPN Radio programming.
Elements of the new network, including sports news reports, will be also heard on CBS' WJZ-FM, 105.7 The Fan, in the Baltimore market, in addition to CBS's Washington, D.C., sports talker, WJFK, 106.7 The Fan.
The new network debuts in January, with sports news updates starting in September.
"As one of the leading media companies in the world, and a dominant force in sports programming, we look forward to bringing to bear the full resources of CBS," Leslie Moonves, president and CEO of CBS, said in a statement, "and capitalizing on an exciting new growth opportunity for the company.
"CBS Sports and CBS Radio have been widely recognized for their outstanding contributions to sports broadcasting. This next step in their evolution will serve an ever-expanding audience of sports fans from coast to coast."
Comcast SportsNet plans to air encore presentations of eight memorable Capitals games from the past regular season and playoffs as part of "Capitals Best Of 2011-12" between June 25 and July 5.
The eight-game series will feature four classic contests from the 2011-12 regular season, leading up to four games from the memorable Eastern Conference quarterfinal series versus the Boston Bruins.
There will be a charity benefit awards ceremony in Chicago Oct. 6 to celebrate the 25th anniversary of sports radio.
The event has a number of local ties, including the fact that Bob and Michele Snyder are producers.
They met at D.C. country station WMZQ in 1988, and both went on to work at D.C.'s first sports talker, WTEM, during the 1990s. He was general sales manager and general manager and she was marketing director.
D.C. sports media veterans Tony Kornheiser and Michael Wilbon are honorary chairmen of the event.
Submissions for nominations are now under way. More information is available at sportsradioawards.com.
Comcast SportsNet's Chick Hernandez did the June 14 sports broadcasts on D.C.'s Channel 4, WRC.
We hear that Hernandez was filling in for Dan Hellie, who was on vacation, but Hernandez may start to make more appearances on WRC now that the merger between Comcast and NBCUniversal is complete.
The Major League Baseball Players Association raised trademark issues and derailed 106.7 The Fan's plans to promote its "Cised For Bryce" T-shirts, which hype Nationals star player Bryce Harper.
The shirt itself featured no mention of the Nats or Harper's full name, but the way the WJFK's Junkies were promoting the shirt on the air made the connection clear, the Washington Post's Dan Steinberg reported.
Posted June 21, 2012