Last April, news broke that the Lerner family was considering selling the Washington Nationals. With Opening Day 2023 looming on Thursday, the Sports Business Journal now reports that the "sales process has been officially paused." As such, it looks like the family will look to resume the process this coming offseason.
The main reason the sale is taking so long is the ongoing dispute with the Orioles regarding how to split the rights fees of MASN (Mid-Atlantic Sports Network), which the two clubs share. It has been a point of contention between the two franchises for years and might be settled this coming summer. Once it is finally resolved, at least in theory, the sale of the Nationals should be a lot less complicated. The Washington Post's Chelsea Janes echoed that idea, saying the Nats' owners likely won't be able to get the price they're looking for until they can prove TV revenue.
Real estate tycoon Ted Lerner -- who died this past February at age 97 -- purchased the Nationals for an estimated $450 million and took over ownership officially in July 2006. The latest valuation of the ballclub, per Forbes, is roughly $2 billion.
Regardless of how this plays out, the Nationals have grown exponentially under the ownership of the Lerner family, taking what was once the Montreal Expos and making the club into one of the stronger franchises of the 2010s.
The Expos were controlled by Major League Baseball from 2002 until Lerner took over as Washington Nationals owner in 2006. The home ballpark issue had lingered with the Expos for over a decade and in 2008, the Nationals moved into Nationals Park and even got the All-Star Game in 2018. The Expos hadn't been to the playoffs since 1981, but between 2012-19, the Nationals won the NL East four times and took the 2019 World Series championship.