BAD DAY FOR DC BASEBALL — LERNERS, WHO HAVE MADE NATS LOSERS, AREN’T SELLING!

By Lew Gould

The Lerner family is no longer a sale of their Nationals.

Mark Lerner tells Andrew Golden of the Post:

“We have determined, our family has determined, that we are not going to sell the team,” Lerner said, adding that the decision was made “a while ago.”

It was almost two years ago, in April of 2022, that Lerner first revealed that the club would be exploring the possibility of a sale. “Nothing has really changed,” Lerner said today. “We’ve just decided that it’s not the time or the place for it. We’re very happy owning the team and bringing us back a ring one day.”

In the interim, it seemed like little progress was made towards the club changing hands. In late 2022, it was reported that their dispute with the Orioles over the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network was something of an obstacle. When the Montreal Expos were moved to Washington and into the territory of the O’s, the former club’s TV rights were given to the latter club. The two clubs jointly own MASN but the O’s having a larger share.

TV revenue is a significant factor in the finances for a baseball club, as has been quite clear this winter. The ongoing bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group has put a dent in the spending capacity of various clubs throughout this offseason. The Nats are at a disadvantage in that department as they don’t have control over their own rights and have been battling the O’s over MASN revenue for years.

It recently seemed possible there was some light at the end of the tunnel with the developments surrounding the Orioles. The Angelos family, who have owned the O’s since 1993, recently agreed to sell the club to a group led by David Rubenstein. That group is going to also acquire the Orioles’ share of MASN if the deal is ultimately approved by Major League Baseball. Some observers speculated that Rubenstein might sell MASN to Leonsis. It was also reported that the league could make the O’s give up the Nationals’ TV rights as part of approving the sale, though it’s unclear if they had any intent to do so. That arguably opened a path for a sale of the Nats to become unclogged but it seems that won’t be coming to fruition, with the Lerner family deciding to hold on.

 

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