Washington Nationals MASN Jul 24, 2023; Washington, District of Columbia, USA; A general view of a Washington Nationals bat on the field during the seventh inning of the game between the Washington Nationals and the Colorado Rockies at Nationals Park. Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports

In a stark departure from the years of legal wrangling and appeals, the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals agreed with an MLB arbitration decision for rights fees owed to the Nationals for the 2017-2021 seasons.

Per Front Office Sports, both teams agreed with MLB’s ruling that MASN owned the Nationals a total of $304 million over that five-year period, which comes out to a shade under $61 million annually.

In the summer of 2019, a judge confirmed an MLB arbitration decision that MASN owed the Nationals $296.8 million in rights fees for the five-year period from 2012-2016. MASN and the Orioles appealed and were ruled against in October 2020. Another appeal was ruled in favor of the Nationals in April, and the teams finally settled this past June.

With that settlement finalized, a deal for the next five-year period seemed far easier to calculate. This latest agreement only pays the Nationals an average of $1.4 million more annually for their past rights fees. A similar escalation for the 2022-2026 period would pay the Nationals roughly $311 million over those five years, or around $62 million annually.

However, now that the teams and MASN are almost current on the value of the Nationals’ media rights, the sale process of the 2019 World Champions may be able to move forward. Earlier this year, we wrote about the MASN dispute hampering a potential sale of the Nationals, who have reportedly been on the market since 2022. Ted Leonsis, who owns the Wizards, Capitals, Mystics, and the newly-rebranded Monumental Sports Network, has been rumored as a potential buyer for the team (and maybe MASN as well), but the uncertainty about the value of the team’s media rights prevented those talks from moving forward.

With another MASN hurdle cleared, maybe the sale process will progress and the team’s future will be clarified.

[Front Office Sports]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.