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Nationals Claim MASN Has Not Paid Rights Fees

“The Orioles are arguing the $25 million that MLB paid the Washington Nationals in 2005 makes the league a minority owner in the team.”

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The court battle between the Washington Nationals and MASN, the RSN owned by their regional rival Baltimore Orioles, rages on. Nationals ownership claims it has not received rights fees from MASN in over a year. It is just the latest turn in a long-running legal dispute.

When the Montreal Expos relocated to Washington, DC in 2005 MLB smoothed things over with Orioles owner Peter Angelos, who vehemently opposed another team coming into what had been exclusively the Orioles’ TV market, by allowing MASN to broadcast Nationals games at a discounted rate until 2011. The league then subsidized the Nationals with a $25 million payment.

After 2011, MASN was supposed to pay “fair market value” to the Nationals for their broadcast rights. They have been locked in a legal battle for a while to determine what “fair market value” actually is.

An MLB arbitration originally awarded the Nationals a judgement in the amount of $53 million, but in June of 2017, that ruling was thrown out by an appeals court, which ruled that the law firm representing the Nationals in the proceedings had a conflict of interest in that it represented Major League Baseball in other matters.

That judgement sent the matter back to the same Major League Baseball panel that arbitrated the dispute the first time around.

The Hollywood Reporter says this time each side is bringing a new complaint to the table. The Nationals claim that they have not received any rights fees payment from MASN in over a year. The Orioles are arguing the $25 million that MLB paid the Washington Nationals in 2005 makes the league a minority owner in the team. The Orioles want the arbitration case heard by the American Arbitration Association.

It is genuinely hard to tell if we are any closer to a resolution. Before anyone hears the Nationals’ and Orioles’ respective cases, the Nationals will argue that the AAA has no jurisdiction in the case, as the Nationals did not agree to take the case before it.

Sports TV News

Peter King: NFL Network Was Praying For Bills/Dolphins Not Be Flexed To Sunday Night Football

“The NFL is more concerned with putting the best game it can on Sunday night…the NFL is willing to diminish its Saturday lineup for Sunday night. I hear the league may be.”

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Peter King

The NFL today announced the beginning of its late-season Saturday slate of games that will air on NFL Network.

Football Morning in America’s Peter King wrote about the complicated nature of the NFL’s flex scheduling and how the league has to weigh all of its television partnerships before making a decision on the possibility of flexing games.

The league decided the Saturday, December 17th schedule would be:
-Indianapolis at Minnesota (1:00 PM ET)
-Baltimore at Cleveland (4:30 PM ET)
-Miami at Buffalo (8:15 PM ET)

That schedule then places the New York Giants and Washington Commanders game into the league’s premier time slot of Sunday Night Football. According to King, that was the outcome NFL Network was hoping for.

“The NFL may do its in-house network a solid and allow Dolphins-Bills to highlight the day and get plugged into the 8:15 Saturday night slot. NFL Network is praying for that,” King wrote before the schedule was announced.

He added that putting the best game possible onto Sunday Night Football is the league’s goal.

“But the NFL is more concerned with putting the best game it can on Sunday night. CBS has likely protected Bengals-Bucs in the Sunday doubleheader window, leaving Miami-Buffalo clearly the only choice—if the NFL is willing to diminish its Saturday lineup for Sunday night. I hear the league may be.”

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Ryan Fitzpatrick Was Worried About Being Critical Of Friends in the NFL

As long as you are fair as long as what you are saying isn’t coming from a place of attacking somebody because you don’t like them personally, but you are fair about evaluating what has happened throughout the season.”

Ricky Keeler

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Ryan Fitzpatrick is in his first season as an NFL analyst on Thursday Night Football on Amazon Prime Video. With Fitzpatrick only being a year removed from the NFL, there was one thing he thought he would struggle with when becoming an analyst.

Fitzpatrick was a guest on The Ryen Russillo Podcast last week and said he thought he would have an issue with being critical of players and/or teams, but it hasn’t ended up being an issue.

“The thing that I thought I would struggle with more is being critical. Being critical of friends. Before our Denver game, Nathaniel Hackett is a dear friend of mine. He recruited Sherman to Stanford, there’s some ties there where we know him very well, Tony knows his dad very well. As long as you are fair as long as what you are saying isn’t coming from a place of attacking somebody because you don’t like them personally, but you are fair about evaluating what has happened throughout the season. That part hasn’t been as challenging to me.

“I think I’ve very easily been able to make sure to watch film on a guy or a team and tell what I think and not necessarily worry about the feelings that much.”

With Fitzpatrick not too far removed from his playing days, he brought up an example from when he was with the Dolphins in 2020 and stories were coming up about when he was benched for Tua Tagovailoa that were not true.

“At one point, being on the inside when Flores decided to bench me and put Tua in, all of the stories that came about from that, I was just sitting there like ‘Wait a minute, I’m involved in this and that is not what happened’. But, because one person says it, then somebody else picks it up, then somebody picks it up, it’s sort of spins into the perceived truth of what’s going on. That part as a player is really frustrated.

“As an analyst, I don’t want to call let’s say Tua and say ‘Hey, what really happened?’ You never want to betray that trust or that confidence to figure out what’s going on on the inside. You give an informed take, but it is weird being on the outside looking in now.”

On the Amazon Prime Video set, Pitzpatrick is one of three players on the set who just recently retired. He said that Charissa Thompson and Tony Gonzalez have been a major help with their experience in television.

“With our crew, there’s three of us that are right off the field. It’s me, it’s Richard Sherman, and it’s Andrew Whitworth. Charissa Thompson has been a true pro and a vet, just kind of allowing us to figure It out as we go. We’ve got Tony Gonzalez, who has worked for a couple different networks and is kind of the uncle at the Thanksgiving table that tells jokes…It’s been a lot of fun.” 

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Sports TV News

Diamond Sports Group Names David Preschlack CEO

“He will be tasked with growing the company’s footprint and getting the Bally Sports properties back on track.”

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Diamond Sports Group has its first CEO. Sinclair, the parent company of Diamond, has named David Preschlack to the position. He comes to the company after stints with ESPN and NBC Sports.

“David is the ideal person to lead Diamond at this critical point in its development,” said Randy Freer, Chairman of DSG’s Board of Managers, in a press release. “David possesses a unique combination of deep sports broadcasting expertise, sound business judgment, and a track record of successfully managing relationships with major sports leagues and multichannel video programming distributors that will be invaluable as we work to realize the full potential of DSG’s Bally Sports Networks.”

Preschlack is no stranger to the Board of Managers. He has been a member since May.

He will be tasked with growing the company’s footprint and getting the Bally Sports properties back on track. The regional sports network business has had troubles in recent years as a number of TV providers drop them from channel lineups.

The Bally Sports Networks have lost 10% of subscribers in the last year. The company also posted a $1.1 billion loss in Q3 2022.

David Preschlack is optimistic about where the company can grow. He points not only to linear television but to the company’s Bally Sports+ streaming platform as valuable assets.

“Diamond is uniquely situated to create a differentiated and truly integrated regional sports offering that puts fans first by delivering live local sports in an immersive engagement environment, and I am honored to step into the role of CEO at this important moment,” he said. “My focus over the next few months will be on fostering and strengthening the relationships with our league partners and addressing the Company’s legacy financial issues, including strengthening our balance sheet, so that we can position Diamond to drive long-term, sustainable value for our stakeholders. I look forward to working closely with my talented and dedicated colleagues to make our vision for the future a reality.”

Sinclair said that it will continue to provide management services to Diamond and maintain a presence on its board.

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