SAN DIEGO (AP) — Commissioner Rob Manfred thinks the Baltimore Orioles eventually will be forced to take their television dispute with the Washington Nationals back to a committee of baseball executives.
New York Supreme Court Justice Lawrence K. Marks in November threw out an arbitration decision that said the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which is controlled by the Orioles, owes the Nationals about $298 million for the team’s 2012-16 television rights.
MASN was established in March 2005 after the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington and became the Nationals, moving into what had been Baltimore’s exclusive broadcast territory since 1972. The Orioles were given a supermajority partnership interest in MASN, and when the parties could not agree on a rights fee for 2012-16, they appeared in April 2012 before baseball’s three-man Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee, as required in the MASN agreement.
Marks tossed aside the RSCD’s decision, but didn’t tell the sides what to do next. On Monday he issued a stay preventing the RSDC from holding a rehearing, pending determinations of appeals in New York courts.
“The Baltimore club agreed that if they couldn’t negotiate a rights fee with the Washington club, it was going to be decided by the RSDC,” Manfred said Tuesday. “That’s what the contract says. I’m a big believer in contracts, and I am a big believer that whatever flotsam and jetsam goes on in the meantime, that contract is ultimately going to be enforced. That’s what they agreed to.”
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