The Baltimore Orioles regional television network, the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, is a cash cow for the team, but many have wondered just how much it rakes in annually. Some conspiracy theorists have speculated that owner Peter Angelos has been sitting on huge profits while operating his team like they earn mid-market revenue.
This very vocal minority never has any substantial evidence to support their claim and, to no one’s surprise, went quiet when the O’s made the postseason in 2012.
Over at FanGraphs.com, Wendy Thurm broke down all 30 team’s TV deals and pointed out that MASN brings in $29 million annually for both the Orioles and the Washington Nationals.
There was a time when the Yankees and Red Sox stood above the other 28 teams in local TV revenue with their team-owned regional sports networks. When it comes to yearly rights fees, that’s not the case anymore. But the owners of the Yankees and Red Sox — and now Mets, Orioles, and Nationals — continue to rake in millions of dollars in profits from the operation of their RSNs. And again, as noted, these profits are not subject to revenue-sharing.
It seems like a good deal of cash, but the Orioles find themselves behind a number of markets when it comes to TV revenue. The Dodgers, Angels, Rangers, Astros, Padres, Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Phillies, Diamondbacks, Mariners, Reds, Tigers, Blue Jays and Indians all earn over $29 million from their TV deals.
That’s half of Major League Baseball, for those of you counting at home.
That number is about to go down. The Nationals, who own 13 percent of MASN, are currently in a mediation dispute over the annual rights fee.
Perhaps the Orioles haven’t been secretly pocketing money all along.