Business of Baseball Reportby Brian Borawski
August 09, 2006
CDM Wins Fantasy Baseball Court Case
In an opinion handed down yesterday, Major League Baseball Advanced Media (MLBAM) was dealt a blow in an attempt to retain the rights to statistics used by fantasy baseball websites. In the legal battle, CDM, a fantasy baseball league website, challenged MLBAM’s claim that the company essentially owned the right to use the players' names in fantasy baseball leagues exclusively unless the fantasy baseball website received a license from MLBAM. The decision by Judge Mary Ann Medler basically stated that MLBAM didn’t have exclusive rights to the players' names and the use of the names by fantasy baseball websites does not infringe on the player’s right of publicity.
Links to full opinion and the conclusion can be found the Baseball Journals.
Yankees Get Free Money to Expand Legends Field
There’s no doubt that the New York Yankees are a draw. Year and in year out, they’re near the top, if not at the top, of the league in road attendance. They’re also a huge hit in Tampa as Spring Training excursions become more and more popular. For the 11th straight year, the Yankees sold out their Spring Training games, and now they’re looking to expand their ballpark at Legends Field to increase capacity so more fans can be accommodated.
The good news for owner George Steinbrenner is that it looks like Hillsborough County has agreed to give the Yankees $7.5 million for the expansion. This money will come from tourist tax dollars that the county has pegged for renovations for Tampa’s three main sports facilities. Even though Legends Field isn’t one of these three county-owned sports facilities, the city and county must feel the Yankees are a worthwhile draw to help finance the project.
August Owners Meeting Cancelled, Braves Sale on Hold
With Time Warner and Liberty Media still in negotiations over the sale of the Atlanta Braves, MLB decided to cancel this week’s owners' meeting because they had nothing to talk about. Negotiations on the new Collective Bargaining Agreement must not be at a stage where it’s even worth discussing, and the only potential item on the agenda was the Braves sale.
Liberty and Time Warner have been in negotiations for quite some time over the sale of the Braves. It sounds like an extremely complicated transaction, both operationally and from a tax standpoint, so I’m not surprised things have dragged out this long.
How Did the Expos/Nationals Relocation Affect the Orioles?
In Maury Brown’s latest column, he takes a look at whether Baltimore Orioles owner Peter Angelos was correct when he predicted the former Montreal Expos' move to Washington, D.C. would cost the Orioles $40 million a year. He examines what attendance numbers at RFK Stadium and Camden Yards have been since the move and also does a nice breakdown of attendance with regard to which visiting teams benefit the Orioles and Nationals respectively. No surprise that the New York Mets have been the biggest draw at RFK while the Yankees pull the most fans at Camden Yard when they come to visit.
While no specific conclusion was made one way or the other as to the effect of the Expos' move on the Orioles, each team has its own problems. The Orioles have been pretty bad for quite some time, and the Nationals are in last place in the National League East. Neither stadium is new; in fact in this day and age, both stadiums are relatively old. So there's not a huge surprise neither team is getting it done at the gate.
Comcast, MASN Settle Dispute
After 15 months of wrangling, Comcast and the Mid Atlantic Sports Network (MASN) have finally agreed on a deal that will bring Washington Nationals games to 1.6 million Comcast subscribers in the area. Financial terms of the deal weren’t disclosed and area residents should begin to start seeing Nationals games on September 1, 2006. Comcast is also going to drop its lawsuit with the Baltimore Orioles over broadcast rights for that team were handed over to MASN, which is largely owned by the Orioles.
In other MASN news, the network is finally going to show something other than Washington Nationals games. The network has expanded its pre- and post-game shows for the Washington Nationals, and it’s also showing old Baltimore Orioles World Series games. This fall and winter, the network will show 25 college football games and 100 college basketball games, with a focus on east coast teams.
Brian Borawski is a member of SABR's Business of Baseball Committee and writes about the Detroit Tigers at his own website, TigerBlog. He welcomes comments, questions and suggestions via e-mail.