- The Washington Times - Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Comcast Corp. took action yesterday to show the cable giant has no intention of dropping its legal battle against the Baltimore Orioles and the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network.

The cable company filed an amended complaint in Montgomery County Circuit Court that further explained its contention that MASN is indeed a third party

Comcast’s lawsuit claimed the Orioles and Major League Baseball, by formalizing linkage of the Nationals’ and Orioles’ television rights under the MASN umbrella, breached its legal right to match a third-party offer for the Orioles’ TV rights starting in 2007.

On July 27, Judge Durke Thompson dismissed the Comcast lawsuit, agreeing with the Orioles’ argument that MASN is simply a new name for TCR Inc., an Orioles subsidiary directly involved in the TV rights deal with Comcast SportsNet’s predecessor, Home Team Sports. As such, there was no third-party offer to prompt the right-to-match provision.

But Thompson left open the possibility for the company to file an amended complaint, which Comcast did yesterday.

“We continue to believe that the Baltimore Orioles have breached Comcast SportsNet’s clear contractual rights,” said D’Arcy Rudnay, vice president of corporate communications. “Consistent with the judge’s order, we have amended our earlier complaint, which we submitted this afternoon. We are hopeful for an expeditious ruling.”

The filing lays the groundwork for an expected appeal of Thompson’s decision, as Comcast officials hope to show they exhausted all legal opportunities at the circuit court level before appealing the decision.

Comcast has refused to carry MASN’s Nationals telecasts this season. Distribution of the team’s games has been limited to DirecTV and RCN Cable and over-the-air through WDCA-TV (Channel 20).

MASN holds local pay TV rights for the Nationals, will add the Orioles starting in 2007 and plans to begin 24-hour programming next spring with a variety of local sports.

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