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Former Marlins Exec Predicts MLB Team Sales Amid Media Rights Uncertainty

  • Former Marlins president David Samson believes the Baltimore Orioles, Los Angeles Angels, and Washington Nationals could all be sold soon.
  • At the moment, buyers and sellers are having difficultly landing on a price due to media deal uncertainty.
Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno (right) and outfielder Mike Trout
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Former Miami Marlins president David Samson expects the Los Angeles Angels, Baltimore Orioles, and Washington Nationals all to be sold in the foreseeable future.

“The Nationals are trying to sell, the Angels are trying to sell. I think you’re gonna see the Angelos’ [family] sell Baltimore,” Samson said on Front Office Sports Today.

Last year, Angels’ owner Arte Moreno put the team on the market only to reverse course last January and decide to keep it. He later said that he received three offers above $2.6 billion.

“During this process, it became clear that we have unfinished business,” Moreno said in a statement. “This offseason we committed to a franchise-record player payroll and still want to accomplish our goal of bringing a World Series Championship back to our fans.”

Samson doesn’t buy it.

“Arte Moreno — don’t believe what he said. When he said, ‘Oh, the reason I’m not selling is I changed my mind. I want to bring a World Series to this community. I love you, LA.’ It’s a bunch of horse hockey. He didn’t get the price he wanted.”

His interview begins at 7:28, and the team sale discussion begins at 16:43:

Samson says the primary reason MLB team buyers and sellers are having trouble getting on the same page is the uncertainty around the future of local media deals.

“We don’t know what the value of TV rights are because it’s such a changing landscape. It’s the same issue with the Nationals — the Lerners want to sell that team, but they’re in a dispute with the Orioles over their TV rights,” said Samson, noting that though part of the dispute was resolved, more litigation remains between the two mid-Atlantic teams.

MLB’s local broadcasting issues go beyond a few teams: The league is seeking a new paradigm amid the bankruptcy of Diamond Sports Group, which owns 19 Bally’s-branded regional sports networks, and Warner Bros. Discovery’s exit from the RSN business.

“MLB would like to control the streaming rights for all 30 teams, and they’d like to nationalize it and then distribute the money equally amongst 30 teams,” said Samson. “But what the bigger teams are saying, like Boston and like New York, they’re saying, ‘I’m not sharing my streaming rights. I own my streaming rights.’ … Baseball is not going to get the Yankees’ rights, as much as they want it.”

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