Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Self Service Counter

The 53-time Emmy Award Winning Jim Williams sat down with our good friends at MASN, namely Bob Whitlaw, EVP and GM of the ‘network’. Williams doesn’t say whether Whitlaw was wearing an orange blazer.
--THEM. ME--

From the Nationals side this is an excellent deal and here's why: The team gets a guaranteed payment of a minimum $20 million dollars per year for the local TV rights - which is in the upper 1/3 of all the teams in baseball.

Phew! What a relief that the 8th largest TV markets in the country gets a deal in the top-10 of baseball teams! Alleluia!

JW: Can you understand the concern that Nationals fans have about the Orioles owning the Nats TV rights?
BW: That is a misconception. MASN is the license holder of Nationals TV rights.

Damn silly morons! Everyone knows the Orioles don’t own the TV rights, MASN does!

I can’t remember…. Who owns the Orioles? Uh-huh. OK. Who owns MASN? Uh-huh. Hey! Wait! They’re owned by the same evil commie-loving man? What’re the odds?!? Completely random how that happens, I suppose.

The Nationals will be seen in Baltimore and the Orioles will be seen in Washington on an equal basis. We will show approximately 150 games of each team within both major markets.

At least that lingering question is being answered. It does make me wonder how they’ll expect to clear TWO channels when they can’t even clear one now.

Here's what I don't understand about the lawsuit: It is against Major League Baseball, the Orioles and MASN/TCR. The suit is about Orioles TV rights. It has nothing to do with the Nationals. Therefore, if Comcast - the parent company of CSN - is truly on the side of the Nationals fans, then why won't Comcast sit down and discuss a deal with us about carrying MASN and Nationals games in Washington and throughout the region? We are confident the legal issues surrounding Orioles TV rights will sort themselves out, but again, that has nothing to do with Comcast's refusal to carry MASN and the Nationals games. The bottom line here is Comcast using its extraordinary dominance in this region - and particularly the Washington metropolitan area - to hold Nationals fans hostage. There is no reason whatsoever for Comcast not to reach a carriage deal with MASN in the area and allow Nationals games to be seen. Again, the lawsuit has nothing to do with Nationals games being made available in Washington, so as we see it, Comcast is saying telling Nationals fans and viewers it's "Comcast or no cast" when it comes to the Nationals.

If it’s true that it’s not completely about the Orioles then why doesn’t MASN spin the Nationals off into a separate network? It works both ways, Bob. Why should Comcast have to accede to your demands that it acknowledge a network that will destroy one of its products? (Whether Comcast should have that power is a completely separate issue, but them’s the rules we’ve got.) MASN is hardly blameless.

And cut the hostage rhetoric. It’s over-the-top and appeals to the mouth-breathing kinda person who’s not going to care one way or another what any orange-suited asshat is going to say.


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