By Shannon Drayer
As reported by 710 ESPN Seattle's Brock Huard earlier this morning, the Mariners have acquired a majority stake in ROOT Sports and are forming a new regional sports network (RSN) partnership. DIRECTV Sports Networks, which currently owns the three ROOT networks, will assume a minority position and continue to oversee the day-to-day management of the new Northwest Network.
The new agreement will keep Mariners baseball on the new network through the 2030 season and also provide other professional, collegiate and high school sports programming. There is no official word as of yet if the new NBA team would be a part of this network.
The Mariners/ROOT partnership has been a strong one and it has been hard not to notice the increased ROOT presence on production pieces on the new video screen. While this is a new venture for the Mariners, from a production standpoint they are not exactly starting from scratch and this no doubt will be a plus going forward.
More importantly, this deal gives the Mariners a chance to compete financially with other teams that have gone the route of investing in or owning RSNs. Mariners Executive Vice President of Business Operations Bob Aylward pointed this out in the press release.
"We are investing to own a majority share of the new venture, and committing our rights well into the future, confident that this will maximize the value of our television rights, and more importantly, provide resources to remain competitive on the field for many years to come," he said.
A teleconference is scheduled for later this afternoon, when more details could become available.