"At some point I think the [Nationals] in conjuction with baseball [are] going to have to buy [Peter Angelos] out of this deal," Bruce Schoenfeld tells Baltimore Business Journal writer James Briggs on a podcast that looks back on what Mr. Briggs says is one of the Baltimore Business Journal's most popular stories of 2013, a profile by Mr. Schoenfeld of the Orioles' much-maligned owner, Mr. Angelos. The topic they are discussing is, of course, the ongoing drama surrounding the TV deal that was agreed to following Major League Baseball's decision to relocate the Montreal Expos to the nation's capital.
As Washington Post writer James Wagner described the origins of the dispute last winter, to sum up a long, convoluted story as quickly as possible, when Major League Baseball relocated the Expos to D.C. in 2004-2005, "... it gave Angelos and his sports network the rights to broadcast Nationals games.":
"It was an arrangement unique in professional sports struck to placate Angelos, who argued the new franchise was moving into the Orioles’ exclusive commercial and broadcast region.
"Under the arrangement, the network would remain under the Orioles’ majority control, with the Nationals’ share rising over a period of years to a maximum of 33 percent. The rights fees for both teams were to be reset every five years, beginning last year [in 2011]."
The two sides disagreed on the compensation, however, with the Nationals asking for around $100-$120M instead of the $34M MASN proposed, as the WaPost's Mr. Wagner reported last winter, and in spite of MLB's intervention, the issue remains unresolved. Mr. Schoenfeld says the Nationals should simply buy the Orioles' owner out.
"The Nationals would be foolish to not make a preemptive offer," Mr. Schoenfeld says, suggesting the Nats should work to resolve the situation as soon as possible, "...because the way you have it now, the Orioles have a vested interest in the Nationals' success, and yet, the Orioles can also control advertising and promotion on the Nationals' own television network. The Nationals are a tenant on their own tv network in the way that the New York Jets, until the renovation of Giants Stadium, were a tenant in their own home stadium. But to be a tenant on someone else's tv network is a lot worse. Because TV is all about promotion, right? It's all about a Manager's Show, it's all about promoting games and other specialty programming on your other programming. And the Nationals don't control any of that for their own team, which is really amazing..."
"It's not amazing that they don't control it," Mr. Schoenfeld clarified. "It's amazing that another franchise controls it. A competing franchise..."
• Listen to the entire discussion which starts around the 20 minute mark:
- Starting Nine: Nationals Sign Three Minor Leaguers; Adam LaRoche/USO Tour; Expos?
- Nationals Rumors: Would The Nats Actually Trade Tyler Moore?
- What Does The Future Hold For Nationals' Third Baseman Ryan Zimmerman?
- Former Nationals' Manager Davey Johnson Not Done With The Nats Yet...
- Nationals' Infielder Danny Espinosa: A Year In The Life