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Braves stuck with MLB's worst TV deal

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08:12 AM ET 01.17 | On the upside, there are only another 14 years to go. The Braves are six years into a bad 20-year local-TV contract that might put the team at a competitive disadvantage as other major league teams sign significantly more lucrative deals that increase revenues and enable larger payrolls. However, Braves CEO Terry McGuirk said he's not worried because the organization is positioned to stay competitive by enhancing other revenues and maintaining a strong minor league system. ... The Braves deal, negotiated as the team was being sold by Time Warner to Liberty Media in 2007, is believed to be worth less than $20 million annually to the team. Some have said that figure is closer to $10 million annually, which would place it at the bottom of the major league scale.

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Jason Heyward, Getty Images Jason Heyward, Getty Images
Comment #1 has been removed
Comment #2 has been removed
January 17, 2013  09:00 AM ET

Sorry, the Nationals have the worst TV deal since the Orioles own the Nats TV rights. Thanks MLB for letting Angelos dictate the amount of cash not flowing into the Nats coffers.

January 17, 2013  09:21 AM ET

When the Expos moved to DC the issue of TV rights was raised and the Orioles ultimately said that it would share the TV market that was rightfully theirs if MLB, who at the time owned the Expos having purchased the failing and flailing Expos for $120 million with shares from each of the remaining 29 franchises, allowed the Orioles cable station, MASN, to air The Nationals games. MLB agreed and in turn purchased 10% of MASN as a part of the agreement with the Orioles. The Washington Post (2005) reported that under the finalized terms of the agreement with MLB and The Orioles, or in reality, the Orioles' principal owner, Peter Angelos, the Orioles retained 90% of MASN in 2005 and MLB received 10% of the RSN. MLB equity in MASN, over a period of twenty-three years, would then increase with a cap at a 33% equity stake. Added into the agreement was the clause that the Nationals would not assume any of the risk from the network, should it lose money and that a committee inside MLB would re-evaluate the Nationals' television rights every five years to align the team's TV revenues to their value in the marketplace. MASN, also, agreed to pay the Washington Nationals $21 million to broadcast their games in 2005, which at the time was higher than seventeen other teams in MLB and several million dollars more than even the Orioles then earned from their local TV deal with Comcast that was due to expire in 2006. (Comcast and MASN eventually would settle a TV rights dispute with MASN determined to be the legal holder over the Orioles TV local media rights.) MLB in return for this stake paid Angelos $75 million, which left Angelos' control, that he had acquired when he brought the Orioles in 1993, over the Baltimore-Washington baseball television territory intact. However, the final coup de grace for Angelos was the added clause in the agreement that guaranteed that the Orioles' worth, if Angelos decided to sell the team, would be at least $365 million or MLB would make up the difference. Angelos paid $173 million for the club in 1993.
When MLB finally found an acceptable buyer for the Washington Nationals in Ted Lerner and Lerner Enterprises, for a reported $450 million, the Lerner family retained that 10% ownership in MASN and all other negotiated rights by MLB. It was now a reality that two teams in direct competition for the same media market were in fact owners of the predominant TV broadcasting corporation for that market.
MASN, according to various reports from the news media and internet sports business sites, is currently paying both the Nationals and the Orioles at least $20 million a year for their TV rights in the Baltimore-Washington market.
This was approximetly fact about two years ago. It should, according to the agreement in 2005, have changed and the Nationbals should be earning more than that original amount. And, the Nationals interest in MASN should be a bit closer to the agreed upon 33%.

January 17, 2013  09:23 AM ET

In 2009 Forbes reported this:

Washington Nationals
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN)
$28 million
Despite having the worst television ratings in the country last season (a mere 8,000 households tuned in), the team raked in $28 million in revenue from the Orioles-majority owned RSN thanks to a deal MLB negotiated on behalf of the team prior to turning the ownership reigns over to the Lerner family. The Nationals current 10% ownership will increase to 33% over the next two decades.

Baltimore Orioles
Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN)
$28 million
MASN was launched in 2005 after a tough negotiation deal between MLB and Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who voiced dissent about the relocation of the Montreal Expos into his backyard as the Washington Nationals. The Os originally owned 90% of the network but every year will lose 1% until the Nationals own 33%.

January 17, 2013  09:35 AM ET

The bottom line is Angelso is much richer than he was now than he was in 2005 due to how he legaally shucked and jived MLB.
The moral of the story is do not go up against a man that in a Nov. 11, 2002, interview with the Baltimore Sun, stoutly defended his legal fee agreement with Maryland entitling him to more than $1 billion stemming from a settlement of tobacco industry litigation.

January 17, 2013  10:21 AM ET
QUOTE(#3):

Sorry, the Nationals have the worst TV deal since the Orioles own the Nats TV rights. Thanks MLB for letting Angelos dictate the amount of cash not flowing into the Nats coffers.

Hey - the Nationals deal may NOT be the best - but given what they did get when the organization was flailing about wasn't bad. It wasn't until the last 3 years that the Nationals actually started filling their stadium - let alone draw ANY kind of television viewership. Yes Agelos got the better of the deal for the long term - but back then - DC wasn't totally screwed when the product sucked.

January 17, 2013  11:23 AM ET
QUOTE(#7):

Hey - the Nationals deal may NOT be the best - but given what they did get when the organization was flailing about wasn't bad. It wasn't until the last 3 years that the Nationals actually started filling their stadium - let alone draw ANY kind of television viewership. Yes Agelos got the better of the deal for the long term - but back then - DC wasn't totally screwed when the product sucked.

Angelos made out like a bandit but DC is doing well with their contract and now owns 18% of MASN.

January 17, 2013  01:14 PM ET
QUOTE(#1):

Oops...surely they could hire some big bucks lawyers and wriggle out of this thing somehow. Bring in Boras as a consultant.

surely BORAS would likely fit in this case with all his advantage in experienced business the braves could indeed use him for the good of the team,,,

January 17, 2013  01:15 PM ET

the rangers did got better TV deals/the dodgers have biggest TV deals/the angels are working on TV deals,,, but nothing its certain though,,,

January 17, 2013  01:16 PM ET

braves still could pull a deal for JUSTIN UPTON should the team would like to upgrade their roster??? trade top prospects,,, benefit both teams at the end,,,

January 17, 2013  01:29 PM ET

at the end the braves organization should ask tough lwayers to fix the TV deal to a better gross income towards the braves franchise,,,

January 17, 2013  02:00 PM ET
QUOTE(#5):

In 2009 Forbes reported this...

Just looked up that Article...

How in the World are the Mets valued at #2?

They are on SNY in New York metro...

And if they ARE #2 - where's the money going?

January 17, 2013  03:19 PM ET
QUOTE(#13):

Just looked up that Article...How in the World are the Mets valued at #2?They are on SNY in New York metro...And if they ARE #2 - where's the money going?

At the time they probably were #2. I would think today they are not, however. Dodgers have a new deal, as does Cleveland and Texas just to mention three.

January 17, 2013  03:50 PM ET

braves are where they are but thanks to their good prospect drafting if they had not been able to draft top players this franchise would be in a deep hole already!!!

January 17, 2013  07:25 PM ET

What happened to Ted Turner?

 
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