Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Today's Smulyan Spin

Jeff Smulyan visited the Washington Times, and got the publicity he wanted. (Even as Barry Svrluga reported on Tony Kornheiser's radio show that he doesn't think that Smulyan is in the lead.)

He believes that his expertise in the broadcasting industry will help him crush Angelos' spirit, solve the MASN/Comcast squabble, and broker peace in the mid-east while creating a viable third party to completely reform government in the US.
He said that to reach higher payroll and turn a steady profit he will push for the Nationals to get a larger share of the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, created as part of an agreement with Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos and Major League Baseball, as compensation for the Nationals' move to the region. Under the deal, the Orioles will own at least two-thirds of the network despite operating in a smaller market.

"It's not the best deal, clearly we know that," Smulyan said. "If you look at the two markets together, it's disproportionate."

Smulyan and his partners said they could use their knowledge of the broadcasting industry to help spread the distribution of MASN, possibly gaining a larger share of the network in exchange. Currently, MASN can only be seen on DirecTV and RCN Cable, with about half the games on WDCA Channel 20.

"If [Smulyan] can go to Angelos and say 50 percent of 2,000 is better than 60 percent of 1,000, he can increase penetration, increase the revenue and show Angelos how to make it work better," said prominent District banker Bob Pincus, a minority partner in the bid who headed an unsuccessful effort to bring baseball to the District in 1991.

Smulyan also said he believes he can help end the dispute between MASN and Comcast, which has refused to carry the network on its cable systems, leaving thousands of area fans unable to watch Nationals games.

"There are people who believe we might be helpful, simply because I've been in the broadcast business for so many years," he said. "Obviously there's something that needs to be done. ... The fact that people in Washington can't see those games on cable is not good."

OK, Jeff. I'm sure you're going to lower beer and ticket prices too, huh?


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