Fight for the Nats and the District

Wednesday, May 4, 2005

I was astonished that Mayor Anthony A. Williams (D) and D.C. Council member Jack Evans (D-Ward 2) endorsed Major League Baseball's decision to transfer the Washington Nationals' television broadcast rights to the owner of the Baltimore Orioles ["A Good TV Deal for the Nats," op-ed, April 14].

The Nationals' broadcast rights were sold for $21 million a year, but the team could have gotten more. That kind of forced subsidy of the Orioles will hurt the new team.

Moreover, Orioles owner Peter G. Angelos intends to air only 79 Nationals games on broadcast TV this year, and 30 games next year, to a limited geographic audience. Yet Orioles games are on broadcast television in Washington.

Mr. Angelos wants to use the Nationals' TV rights to create a second, regional sports network that will rob the Nationals of revenue, impose a $2 or $3 a month surcharge on cable and satellite customers, and restrain competition for TV audiences between the two teams. That should be illegal under antitrust law.

Someone should stand up for the interests of the District and its new team.


Member (D-Ward 8)

D.C. Council


© 2005 The Washington Post Company