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Judge to Comcast: Yer out!

Finally, some action! But not the kind of action most Orioles fans were hoping for:

This morning, the Comcast-MASN feud went to a courtroom to be heard by a judge for the first time. (For more of the backstory, read Eric Fisher's report in today's Washington Times.) The result? Montgomery County Circuit Judge Durke G. Thompson dismissed Comcast's lawsuit, ruling that the Orioles did not violate the matching-offer condition in their contract with Comcast by planning to move their telecasts to the new Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, which is jointly owned by the Orioles and Major League Baseball (the split is 90/10). The contract requires the Orioles to allow Comcast to match any third-party offer to broadcast the Orioles' games when the current agreement concludes after next season. According to the judge, MASN does not fit the definition of a third party.

The judge gave Comcast 30 days to respond, so the standoff is not over. But the end may be in sight. If today's ruling holds up, a resolution of the suit could occur before the end of the season, allowing Washington Nationals games to be shown on an MASN channel via Comcast.

This development brightens the outlook for Nationals fans who subscribe to Comcast cable. Those fans have been unable to view many of their team's games in this inaugural year because Comcast has refused to carry MASN on its network during the dispute. Meanwhile, Orioles games have continued to be shown on Comcast Sportsnet per their existing broadcast agreement with the network. But the ruling is certainly welcome news for all those in the Orioles' camp, as a healthy MASN would mean a more stable financial future for the team.


This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on July 27, 2005 6:15 PM.

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