It’s no secret that Capitals majority owners Ted Leonsis — who also leads the ownership group that controls the Wizards, Mystics, and Verizon Center — has long wanted more control of the broadcast rights for his teams’ games. He’ll finally get it, if a new deal announced today earns approval from the NHL and NBA.
In what a joint press release called “an innovative cross-equity and leadership structure,” Monumental Sports & Entertainment (MSE) gets an ownership stake in CSN Mid-Atlantic, including representation on the network’s board of directors. The deal also extends CSN’s rights to broadcast Caps and Wizards games “well into the future.”
As the Washington Post’s Dan Steinberg reported, Monumental owning a large portion of CSN “could raise the same questions about objectivity that have been directed at the Daniel Snyder-controlled ESPN 980” radio station. CSN Mid-Atlantic President Rebecca Schulte told Steinberg, “Our reputation of being fair and being unbiased in our coverage, I stand by it,” adding, “We’ll cover the teams exactly the way we would either way.”
“I only get mad when we’re not covered; I don’t get mad when we are covered,” Leonsis said to The Washington Post. “Now, as part of that coverage, when we do something bad and we lose 20 games in a row, I’m sure they’ll be screaming and hollering at us, editorially. And that’s fine.”
Leonsis also added that, “this is the kind of deal that allows us to perform and act and invest like we’re a big-market team.”
According to Sports Business Daily’s John Ourand, the Capitals license fee rose from $13 million to $28 million in the contract.
Taking out upfront payments and equity considerations, the Capitals license fee will adjust to an annual average of $28M per year from $13M; the Wizards will increase to a $35M-per-year average from $17M. The deal runs through the ’31-32 NBA and NHL seasons, sources said.
In the same transaction, MSE sold part of the Monumental Sports Network (MSN) to NBC Sports Group and announced plans to offer subscription-based streaming of Mystics and Washington Valor arena football games.
— CapitalsPR (@CapitalsPR) October 11, 2016
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