N.Y. court blocks MLB decision in Orioles-Nationals TV rights fee case

By JEFF BARKER | August 7, 2014 | The Baltimore Sun

The Baltimore Orioles took an early lead in the court battle against the Washington Nationals and Major League Baseball over television rights fees from the teams’ shared regional sports network.

A New York court temporarily blocked a recent Major League Baseball decision that would have diverted tens of millions of dollars in profits from the regional network MASN that flow primarily to the Orioles. The Orioles say that money is critical to maintaining competitiveness and affording quality players.

A judge in the New York Supreme Court Commercial Division for New York County issued a temporary restraining order Thursday in response to a Mid-Atlantic Sports Network petition to block the league decision. A hearing on a permanent injunction is scheduled this month.

Judge Lawrence Marks’ order also prohibited the Nationals or the league from “taking any action to terminate MASN’s license.” MASN, which is controlled by the Orioles, argued that it faced irreparable harm because of a threat that the Nationals could prevent it from continuing to show Washington’s games.

The judge rejected the league’s request to seal the record, meaning that documents filed by the Nationals and MASN will be open to the public. In documents filed with the court, MASN accused the league of botching the process used to determine television rights fees and of improperly influencing the arbitration procedure aimed at settling the clubs’ differences.

Read More