WASHINGTON — The Appellate Division of a New York State court ruled Thursday that the Washington Nationals are entitled to have their the broadcast rights fees determined by a Major League Baseball committee, as they originally were slated to in 2014.
The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network is the shared television network that is owned by the Nationals and Baltimore Orioles and broadcasts both teams’ games. The court’s ruling reverses a November 2015 decision that threw out the MLB Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee’s (RSDC) decision that MASN owed the Nationals roughly $60 million annually from 2012-2016, rather than the $40 million they received. It also would allow the Nationals to renegotiate a new rate for the 2017-2021 seasons at the adjusted market rate, per the original terms of the contract, which would likely increase Washington’s annual haul even more.
The Orioles own a large majority of MASN and have since its establishment in March 2005, when the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore’s exclusive broadcast territory since 1972. MASN and the Orioles can appeal Thursday’s decision and try to push the forum back to a neutral arbitrator outside of MLB.