MLB lays out incentive plan for Angelos

Originally Published: September 28, 2004
By Jayson Stark | ESPN.com

What is it worth to Peter Angelos to pull up his roadblocks and allow Major League Baseball to move the Montreal Expos 40 miles down the highway from Camden Yards?

According to baseball sources, MLB offered the Orioles owner two fascinating incentives:

  • Baseball is willing to guarantee that the Orioles will earn a still-to-be-negotiated minimum in annual revenues. If their revenues fall below that figure, MLB would make up the difference.

  • Baseball also is willing to guarantee a minimum franchise value for the Orioles. So if Angelos attempts to sell the team and can't find a buyer willing to pay that amount, MLB also would make up that difference.

    Beyond those measures, baseball will help establish a new regional sports network in the Baltimore-Washington area that would enable the Orioles to continue to televise games in Washington and its Virginia suburbs. Additionally, MLB is also offering the Orioles partial ownership of that network.

    Baseball's president and COO, Bob DuPuy, was in Baltimore on Tuesday, attempting to finalize negotiations. While it appears they haven't reached agreement on all issues, they are now close enough on the parameters of a deal, according to a source, that Washington city officials have an announcement press conference scheduled for 4:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

    According to sources, the biggest remaining sticking point in negotiations with the Orioles is the length of time for which baseball would be willing to make those guarantees. The Washington Post reported Tuesday night that MLB has offered to extend the guarantees for as long as Angelos owns the club, but Angelos is pushing to keep them in effect indefinitely.

    They will continue to talk about those issues Wednesday. But the finish line is now so close that one source said Tuesday: "I don't see anything now that could gunk this up."

    Jayson Stark is a senior writer for ESPN.com.

    Jayson Stark | email

    Senior Writer, ESPN.com
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