Hey, guys, remember that dispute between the Nationals and the Orioles over MASN's cable TV rights fee? You know, the one that was supposed to be settled over the summer, but has actually sort of dragged on and on without anyone seeming to know what its status is?
Well, the saga got a new twist Monday, when Sports Business Journal reported that FOX Sports initiated talks to buy MASN at the urging of Major League Baseball.
Fox's involvement in talks with MASN came at MLB's urging, sources said. MASN still is involved in a rights fee dispute with the Nationals. That dispute hasn't been resolved, though both parties met at MLB's New York offices last week. MLB hoped that a deal with Fox would solve the dispute. MASN and Fox have not met for several weeks, and no further talks are scheduled.
As baseball's winter meetings commence this week in Nashville, the resolution of this dispute should be a priority for the Lerners, if it isn't already. No matter when or how the deal is resolved, the Nationals will surely get an increased windfall from MASN, which should put them on even more solid financial footing and increase their ability to spend money in free agency.
From that standpoint, we regret that FOX's talks with Angelos appear to have stalled. As the article points out, if there's one thing FOX is good at, it's making money from regional sports networks (RSNs). More importantly, any move that would get the MASN rights out from under the thumb of Peter Angelos and the Orioles is a very, very good thing.