August 1, 2014
By Rick Horrow and Karla Swatek
MLB Commissioner Bud Selig issued a stern warning to the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles over the intense litigation in their TV rights fee dispute. Though an MLB arbitration panel last month ruled in favor of increasing the Nationals’ rights fee, the dispute remains unsettled.
Meanwhile, Time Warner Cable wants an independent arbitrator to set the subscriber fee for its SportsNet L.A. channel in order to settle its carriage dispute with DirecTV. DirecTV is one of several TV providers not carrying the Dodgers-owned channel, including Cox, Verizon, and Dish Network.
These days, the economics of MLB are being driven by local TV contracts. In the absence of a salary cap, lucrative TV deals are critical for staying competitive for free agents. It’s also why there’s been a proliferation of $100 million contracts over the last couple years. It’s no wonder why the Dodgers need greater carriage and the Nationals want more money.