Author Topic: MASN seppuku - cuts staff, coverage, but frees Gary Thorne  (Read 1306 times)

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Offline rileyn

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Welp.  Just when you thought the MASN production couldn't get any worse.....

Offline Slateman

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  • THE SUMMONER OF THE REVERSE JINX



Offline HalfSmokes

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great way to further sink ratings and interest in the team.  Sigh...

They did that when they decided to not stream

Online DCFan

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They did that when they decided to not stream

Yep. Angelos was so jealous and PO'd at Lerner that he'd rather run the product into the ground than grow the business so both could flourish.

Offline welch

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Here is the story from The Athletic, which hints that the cuts are a way to jab the Nats:

Quote
Sources: MASN planning major programming and personnel cuts for 2021 season


By Brittany Ghiroli Jan 22, 2021 81

Major cuts are coming to the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network (MASN), the shared television station of the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals, multiple sources told The Athletic on Friday.

Most notably, MASN is getting rid of its pregame and postgame coverage of both teams, sending a legal document this month to both clubs stipulating that they will have to pay out of pocket if they wanted to continue programming. It’s unknown when the Orioles received their notice, but the Nationals were informed on Jan. 20, sources say, with just weeks until spring training is tentatively slated to start. The document informed both teams that they would have to individually fund their own pregame and postgame programming, which means talent salaries, truck rentals, rights fees and employing contractors for production, an amount that easily totals in the millions of dollars.

On Friday, longtime broadcaster Jim Hunter tweeted news of his departure, which he said “was not his choice.” Others who were let go from the Orioles include Mike Bordick, Dave Johnson, Tom Davis, Rick Dempsey and Gary Thorne. However, the Orioles will employ sideline reporters for at least some games next season. It is not yet known how the Nationals will handle the contractual status of current studio host Dan Kolko or that of analyst Bo Porter, or whether their sideline reporter will be impacted.

Sources say the new proposed pregame and postgame shows will be 15-minute lead-ins, using in-game talent rather than the normal half-hour pregame show and extended postgame program.

MASN officials did not respond to multiple attempts for comment Friday.

“This is a cash-flow problem,” one source said. “And there’s apparently not a lot of it.”

Neither team is expected to broadcast more than a handful of spring training games, if any. That still has to be finalized, sources say.

There have also been pay cuts to MASN’s website, with at least one position eliminated.

Typically, regional sports networks are owned by a team. The most successful ones can be cash cows, providing a financial cushion that other teams don’t have. Asking a team to pay out of pocket is quite unusual.

But in MASN’s case, things have always been tricky. The creation of MASN in 2005 was a compromise that gave joint control of the network to the Orioles and Nationals, though Baltimore has always had the lion’s ownership share — currently 77 percent, compared to Washington’s 23 percent. Major League Baseball made the deal after Orioles principal owner Peter Angelos argued the introduction of the Nationals into the Washington-Baltimore market after relocating from Montreal would cut into his team’s market.

In exchange for giving up part of their home territory, the Orioles would air Nationals games on MASN, with a controlling interest of 90 percent of the network. The MLB-owned Nationals paid $75 million at the time for the remaining 10 percent of MASN. The deal stipulated that the Nationals’ stake would increase by 1 percent every year, eventually topping out at 33 percent for Washington and the remaining two-thirds going to Baltimore.

The initial windfall required the Orioles to pay the Nationals just $20 million, well below market value at the time, to broadcast the Nats’ inaugural 2005 season. That annual figure bumped to $25 million in 2007 and increased $1 million each year until 2012 — and every five years after that — when the two clubs would determine fair market value for the broadcast rights. Since then, the two sides have been embroiled in legal battles over rights fees and what the Nationals should be paid.

An arbitration panel set up by MLB to handle the dispute ruled in favor of the Nationals in 2019, ruling that the Orioles owed Washington an additional $100 million. The Orioles appealed to the New York Supreme Court’s Appellate Division, saying the MLB panel was not impartial, but the Appellate Court upheld the award last October. The Orioles said they planned to appeal to the state’s highest court.

While some sources wondered to The Athletic whether the latest cost-cutting move is another way for the mostly Orioles-owned network to “stick it to the Nationals,” the cuts on both sides suggests the opposite.

The news comes on the heels of NBC telling its distributors and leagues, according to the Sports Business Journal, that it’s planning to shut down its NBC Sports Network by the end of 2021, with sports programming moving to USA Network.


Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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I am amazed they axed Gary Thorne.  This is close to getting rid of John Miller.   The O's hangers on seem a thicker than the Nats, and I suspect Bo could line up a coaching spot somewhere if he wanted to, so I could see the Nats slimming down to Carp, FP, and maybe Kolko handling a lot of the interviews remotely rather than at the dugout (especially if there's covid restrictions).

Offline varoadking

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I am amazed they axed Gary Thorne.  This is close to getting rid of John Miller.   The O's hangers on seem a thicker than the Nats, and I suspect Bo could line up a coaching spot somewhere if he wanted to, so I could see the Nats slimming down to Carp, FP, and maybe Kolko handling a lot of the interviews remotely rather than at the dugout (especially if there's covid restrictions).

If FP goes, I'll certainly be happy...

Maybe Thorne lands a gig doing NHL games again, though his sidekick Clement just announced his retirement.  Those two were a great pairing...

Offline Five Banners

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‘To cut costs, Orioles offered ‘odd’ salary deferment to Mancini, Santander’

https://theathletic.com/2340453/2021/01/23/orioles-offered-odd-salary-deferment-mancini-santander/?source=emp_shared_article

“In a highly unusual and potentially alarming example of slashing expenses this winter, the Orioles asked two arbitration-eligible players to accept deferrals of a portion of their one-year salaries so the full amounts wouldn’t be on the 2021 ledger, according to multiple industry sources.

“As part of arbitration negotiations earlier this month, sources said, the Orioles hoped to shift roughly 25 percent of the 2021 salaries for two of their best players, infielder/outfielder Trey Mancini and outfielder Anthony Santander, to 2022 and/or 2023 as a way to keep the club’s payroll down as the Orioles struggle with cashflow after a pandemic-marred season without gate receipts.

“If the offers had been accepted, the Orioles could have removed roughly $1.5 million (of the approximate $7 million earmarked for the two players) from their expenditures in 2021.“


Offline Sirjesse

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Wow, that is concerning. Nats need their 100 million from the orioles and they can’t pay seven million to arb players?

Offline varoadking

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It would be hysterical if MLB ended up owning the Oreos and had to be the ones to pay the Nats that $100MM...

Online Natsinpwc

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It would be hysterical if MLB ended up owning the Oreos and had to be the ones to pay the Nats that $100MM...
Sell them and move to Nashville. 

Offline HalfSmokes

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Someone call mayflower

Offline nats4ever

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It would be hysterical if MLB ended up owning the Oreos and had to be the ones to pay the Nats that $100MM...
Mitchell Rales or Bill Miller will buy the Orioles.

Offline Lintyfresh85

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I can't believe they'd cut Thorne. Dude is a legend.

Offline welch

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Sell them and move to Nashville. 

Move them back to St Louis, a baseball town.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Move the Os to Fresno. It's the biggest city in California without a team (or maybe Sacto is), and it is classier than Baltimore.

Offline varoadking

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Move the Os to Fresno. It's the biggest city in California without a team (or maybe Sacto is), and it is classier than Baltimore.

Hell, even Nashville is classier than Balmer...wait... :shrug:  :D

Offline RobDibblesGhost

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Speaking of MASN, Alex Chappell tweets that her time at the network has come to an end.

Online GburgNatsFan

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Speaking of MASN, Alex Chappell tweets that her time at the network has come to an end.
MASN blows.

Online imref

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Speaking of MASN, Alex Chappell tweets that her time at the network has come to an end.

Still no word on Kolko and Bo, right?

Online DCFan

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Still no word on Kolko and Bo, right?

Not officially but it seems to be understood that with no pre or post game show what will they do otherwise?

Offline nfotiu

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Still no word on Kolko and Bo, right?
This was in the streaming app press release.  So probably not I guess?   I'd feel bad for Kolko, he seemed to put a lot of work into his job, and was starting to provide some interesting insights.

MASN’s multicast on cable, satellite, telecom, and digital services features a team of returning veterans and rising stars providing play-by-play, color, analysis, fan forum, commentary, and contributing content: Bob Carpenter, F.P. Santangelo, Kevin Brown, Scott Garceau, Jim Palmer, Ben McDonald, Roch Kubatko, Mark Zuckerman, Paul Mancano, and other personalities.

Online Natsinpwc

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Not officially but it seems to be understood that with no pre or post game show what will they do otherwise?
Kolko could return to the in game reporting.