Comcast’s Orioles Suit Ejected - Multichannel

Comcast’s Orioles Suit Ejected

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Comcast Corp.’s lawsuit against Major League Baseball’s Baltimore Orioles has been sent to the showers.

Montgomery County (Md.) Circuit Judge Durke G. Thompson threw out the suit -- in which the MSO sought to block the team from moving its games to its Mid-Atlantic Sports Network in 2007 -- ruling that the matching-offer clause in Comcast's contract with the Orioles had not been triggered, AP reported.

MASN was created as part of a deal that allowed MLB’s Montreal Expos to move to Washington, D.C., and become the Washington Nationals this season.

Comcast -- which has television rights to Orioles games through 2006 and controls cable distribution for much of the Baltimore-Washington, D.C., area -- had said the team didn't give it a chance to match other offers, according to AP.

Orioles attorneys told AP the ruling means that the operator should now start carrying Nationals games.

“Comcast continues to be interested in carrying Nationals games,” the MSO said in a filing with the Federal Communications Commission. “Comcast, however, will not be coerced into signing an agreement that is bad for its customers and its business and tramples on [Comcast SportsNet’s] contractual rights with respect to Orioles games.”

Comcast executive vice president David L. Cohen said in a prepared statement, "We are disappointed in the judge's decision today. He has invited us to amend the complaint, and we will promptly decide whether we will amend or appeal. We remain fully confident in our legal position and believe that it will be vindicated upon further review."

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