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Monumental Sports acquires D.C. RSN; are Nationals next?

Washington NationalsMonumental Sports & Entertainment, fresh off the acquisition of RSN NBC Sports Washington, has been granted access to financials for the Washington Nationals, putting the Ted Leonsis-led firm on a potential ownership path.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment is a heavyweight in the D.C. sports-business world, counting Capital One Arena, the Washington Wizards (NBA), Washington Mystics (WNBA) and Washington Capitals) among its major assets. It had owned a third of NBA Sports Washington and then announced it was acquiring the remaining two-thirds. NBC Sports Washington is the exclusive local television rightsholder for Washington Wizards and Washington Capitals games. The network is available throughout the District of Columbia, Maryland and Virginia, as well as parts of Pennsylvania, Delaware and West Virginia. Launched as Home Team Sports in April 1984, the network has served as the NHL’s Capitals and NBA’s Wizards regional TV partner since the network’s inception.

Monumental Sports & Entertainment has been a very aggressive operator of Capital One Arena, bringing in a new sportsbook, expanding the facility and then adding various premium spaces to the facility.

Now, with access to the Nationals financials, the firm will be in position to potentially prepare a bid for the Nationals. The Lerners announced a sale of the Nationals earlier this season, with at least five other potential bidders expressing interest. Most of the names mentioned center of money managers and private-equity investors, not the traditional D.C. power player typically looking at a sports-team purchase.

The Nationals are one of two teams on the market, joining the Los Angeles Angels, where Arte Moreno announced he was evaluating the future of the MLB franchise, including a potential sale. We could also see a potential sale of the Baltimore Orioles in the future as well. Both the Nationals and Angels could attract offers exceeding $2 billion, and it’s not outside the realm of possibility that the Angels attract an offer of more than the $2.4 billion paid by Steve Cohen for the New York Mets.

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