That’s the dilemma facing Angleos, the MASN creator. He knows, most likely, that any additional “free money” the Nationals receive will be used to lure top free agents to Washington DC.
And if the Nats spend all that TV money on players to improve their team and impress their fan base, what message does it send if the Orioles – the older brother, so to speak – don’t do exactly the same thing?
WHAT IF THE NATIONALS GET REALLY GOOD?
Angelos also knows this: The Nationals are closing in on being a playoff contender. It may or may not happen this year, but they’re not far away, for sure. While an improved Nats team should result in better TV ratings, the other dirty little secret about MASN is that they’ve never been all that successful selling advertising for their baseball product. Think about it…Southwest Airlines is a familiar advertising partner of MASN baseball, but who else can you recall being a longtime supporter with their marketing dollars? Right, you can’t recall anyone. That’s because they haven’t done a very good job of selling advertising. Instead, they’ve relied on the checks they receive every month from the cable carriers. Where do those cable carriers get the money they send to the Orioles and Nationals? From you and me, that’s who. We pay the freight every month.
Back to the subject of the Nationals getting better and contending for the post-season. While it could yield additional advertising leverage, it mainly serves as another blemish to the Angelos ownership era of Orioles baseball.
“You mean the Nationals made the post-season in 2012 after being a last place team for most of the last 7 years and the Orioles can’t climb out of the doldrums after 14 years of losing?”
If the Nationals make the post-season before the Orioles do, it’s a black eye for the baseball franchise in Baltimore. Yes, there are differences in quality between the AL East and NL East, but it’s not all that significant. If the little brother winds up being more successful than the older brother, that’s a problem.
And if little brother gets REALLY good – like, ahem, playing in the World Series – and they do it in part by spending that MASN money on better players, the Orioles hand might very well be forced to apply the same tactic.
That scenario, naturally, could be a problem for the Orioles under Angelos, who spent as much on baseball players in 2000 ($81 million) as he did this year ($81 million).
(Please see next page)