WASHINGTON — Regardless of where the Washington Nationals stand with their MASN dispute, one thing is certain: baseball dominates the summer television ratings in the D.C. market.
According to a report by Bizball, LLC featured by Forbes, the Nats’ 2017 TV ratings are up 12 percent over 2016 for a 3.12 rating. That’s No. 1 against cable and network TV.
The Nats are not unique in that regard, as 10 other teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, are also No. 1 in TV markets on the nights that they play. Against just cable competitors, 25 MLB teams are No. 1 in the market on nights that the team plays.
These are the sort of numbers that should help the team secure a better share of the MASN TV earnings, which are still being resolved in a case that involves the Orioles, Nationals and MLB. in June, MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred explained the situation on 106.7 The Fan.
“When Washington was awarded the franchise, that franchise was moving into a territory that belonged to Baltimore,” Manfred explained. “The way that [former] Commissioner [Bud] Selig resolved the compensation issues that ordinarily take place in that situation is he structured this RSN (regional sports network), MASN, that was going to hold the rights for both the Nationals and the Orioles.
“After the first five years, because that market is fluid, it changes — it, in recent years, thank God, has escalated dramatically — the arrangement was they were supposed to negotiate a new rights fee; or, if they could not, a committee of owners of other clubs would resolve that dispute.
“They would pick a rights fee that was to be paid by MASN. That happened. They picked a rights fee. The Nationals were satisfied with that outcome. Unfortunately, MASN and the Orioles were not — they thought the number was too high and they brought a lawsuit against baseball, because it’s our committee and the Nationals, trying to avoid paying the amount that that committee determined was due in owing.”
In the meantime, the Nationals are enjoying the attention they deserve en route to an easy division victory in the National League East.