4/16/2013 3:09 P.M. ET
Mariners and DIRECTV Sports Networks announce formation of new regional sports network partnership
By / MLB.com
The Seattle Mariners and its long-standing TV rights holder, DIRECTV Sports Networks (DTVSN), today announced a new regional sports network partnership in the Pacific Northwest. The Mariners hold a majority stake in the new venture. DIRECTV Sports Networks, which owns and operates two other regional sports networks based in Denver and Pittsburgh, assumes a minority position and will continue to oversee the day to day management of the Northwest network.
As part of this new agreement, the network will televise Mariners baseball through the conclusion of the 2030 Major League Baseball season. DIRECTV Sports Network's current ROOT SPORTS™ Northwest entity and related assets will be contributed into a new jointly owned entity, which will operate under the existing ROOT SPORTS brand.
In addition to the Mariners, the network will provide other professional, collegiate and high school sports programming year-round.
Mariners Executive Vice President of Business Operations Bob Aylward explained, "This is great news for the Mariners and for sports fans in the Northwest. We are excited to continue our partnership with DIRECTV Sports Networks in this new way. 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 the resources to remain competitive on the field for many years to come."
DIRECTV Sports Networks President Patrick Crumb said, "This is an opportunity to strengthen and extend our relationship with the Mariners for decades while continuing to leverage DIRECTV Sports Networks' overall resources and expertise for the benefit of our new partnership with the Mariners in the Northwest region. This new structure will truly align our interests and allow us to work together to maximize the potential for the network and our coverage of Northwest sports."
New York investment bank Allen & Company advised the Mariners on this transaction, guiding the club through the development and creation of this new venture. The Allen & Company team, led by Steve Greenberg, has extensive experience in the sports television industry, having negotiated television agreements for many professional sports franchises.
Greenberg said, "With the formation of this new regional sports network partnership, the Mariners have taken a significant step forward. MLB clubs that own a substantial stake in their own RSN's tend to be among the strongest and most stable franchises in the league."
Since its original incarnation as Prime Sports Northwest in 1994, ROOT SPORTS Northwest has increased the number of Mariners games it provides each season to this season's high of 159 and added production innovations and interactivity to boost fans' in-home experience of the team. ROOT SPORTS Northwest currently reaches approximately 3.2 million homes and that extended reach has helped the Mariners to become the Northwest's Team.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.