By Chris Korman
12:30 p.m. EST, December 3, 2012
Fox has already made a significant move to generate revenue from television customers in the huge Washington D.C./Baltimore market. It owns 49 percent of the Big Ten Network and handles the business operations of the channel that will soon be showing Maryland games.
It may be thinking even bigger. According to John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal, Fox has had negotiations with Peter Angelos about acquiring MASN and the rights to both Orioles and Nationals games.
Though he says the talks have cooled -- and that similar discussions with Comcast stalled -- the most interesting thing Ourand reports is what brought about the move: pressure from Major League Baseball.
MASN formed when MLB wanted to move the Montreal Expos to D.C. Angelos pointed out how much that would hurt his market and eventually leveraged his complaint into a remarkable deal. He owns most of the network, and his decreasing share will eventually bottom out at 67 percent (it's currently at 87).
I spoke with Ourand today, and he said the value of the network could easily be $1 billion.
MLB would push a sale of the network because Angelos -- notoriously stubborn, in case you somehow forgot -- has refused to budge on negotiations with the Nationals concerning how much the team should receive in yearly TV rights. According to The Washington Post, the Nationals have asked for $110 million and the Orioles have offered $34 million.
Meanwhile, the Dodgers may end up receiving $6 billion in a 25-year broadcast deal with Fox. That's $240 million per year.
Since MASN's inception, rights fees for live sports have skyrocketed. In the DVR and on-demand age, sporting events are the best way for a television network to ensure advertisers that people might actually be watching the commercials.
This is gonna be sweet if it happens. More money for payroll.