In their recent meetings, Major League Baseball owners again stepped out of the batter's box rather than take on the sticky issue of television territories — a matter of particular relevance in this part of North Carolina, where Time Warner Cable fans have no way of viewing the designated home teams, the Baltimore Orioles and Washington Nationals.
The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network, co-owned by those two teams, has the rights to their games but hasn't been able to reach a carriage agreement with TWC. Despite losing in three separate rulings — two by independent arbitrators, one by an FCC media bureau chief — Time Warner is appealing to the full, five-member FCC.
Meanwhile, there has been discussion that MLB would start giving teams a certain amount of time to reach agreements to get their games on TV in so-called outlying areas, like the Triangle, or risk losing those territories. But any sort of deadline would complicate the existing television contracts with the various franchises, and MASN insists that any action by the owners would not be relevant in North Carolina because of MLB's "separate and inviolable" agreements with the O's and the Nationals.
So, the owners, who also had more pressing issues — like the need for a salary cap — to discuss, will take up the matter of outlying TV territories again before the start of the season, according to MLB. Unless they decide to table it again.