NEW YORK (AP) — Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network will eventually be forced to pay increased rights fees to the Washington Nationals.
Both teams own stakes in MASN, and the Orioles hold a controlling interest. When they could not agree on the Nationals' rights fees for 2012-16, the dispute went to MLB's three-man Revenue Sharing Definitions Committee.
After the committee ruled last summer the Nationals should receive about $298 million for the five-year period, MASN and the Orioles sued, complaining the process was tainted. Justice Lawrence K. Marks issued a preliminary injunction preventing the Nationals from ending the deal and listened to arguments this week. The Orioles want the RSDC decision thrown out.
"I think the agreement's clear in MASN," Manfred said Thursday. "I think the RSDC was empowered to set rights fees. That's what they did, and I think sooner or later MASN is going to be required to pay those rights fees."
Lawyers for MASN sent a letter to Marks on Friday saying that Manfred's statements further their case that the dispute must be resolved either by the court or an independent arbitration panel.
"It is beyond any reasonable dispute that Mr. Manfred's revelations have poisoned any notion that MLB can or would act in a fair and neutral manner," the letter states.