Root Sports Northwest (stylized as ROOT SPORTS Northwest) is an American regional sports network jointly owned by the Seattle Mariners and Warner Bros. Discovery. It is operated by Warner Bros. Discovery as part of the AT&T SportsNet regional network group and as an affiliate of Bally Sports.
The channel, headquartered in Bellevue, Washington, near Seattle, broadcasts regional coverage of sporting events throughout the Pacific Northwest, with a particular emphasis on professional sports teams situated in Seattle and Portland. You can get it through cable in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska. You can also get it through satellite all over the country with DirecTV.
Root Sports’ Profession to Date
Root Sports Northwest was founded by Tele-Communications Inc. and Viacom in late 1988 as Northwest Cable Sports. Early programming included games from the University of Washington and Washington State, as well as the Tacoma Stars. In 1989, it merged with the newly formed Prime Sports Network and became Prime Sports Northwest.
In 1996, Liberty sold News Corporation a 50% stake in the Prime Network. News Corporation had launched a sports section for the Fox network two years earlier after acquiring the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference and wished to create a number of regional sports networks.
On November 1 of that same year, News Corporation and Liberty Media relaunched the Prime Network affiliates as part of the new Fox Sports Net group, rebranding the Seattle-based network as Fox Sports Northwest.
In 2000, the channel was renamed Fox Sports Net Northwest as part of a collective rebranding of the FSN networks under the “Fox Sports Net” banner. So, in 2004, the name of the channel was changed to FSN Northwest because the networks decided to put less emphasis on the “Fox Sports Net” brand.
On December 22, 2006, News Corporation sold its interest in FSN Northwest and sister networks FSN Utah, FSN Pittsburgh, and FSN Rocky Mountain to Liberty Media as part of an asset trade. News Corporation also traded its 38.5% ownership stake in satellite provider DirecTV for $550 million in cash and stock in exchange for Liberty Media’s stake in the company.
On May 4, 2009, DirecTV Group Inc. announced that it would become a part of Liberty’s entertainment unit, a portion of which would be spun off into a separate company under the DirecTV name, and that Liberty would increase its stake in DirecTV from 48% to 54%, with Liberty owner John Malone and his family holding a 24% stake.
DirecTV would run the FSN-affiliated networks that it just bought under DirecTV Sports Networks, a new division that was created on November 19, 2009, when the split from Liberty Media was finalized.
On December 17, 2010, DirecTV Sports Networks announced that its four regional outlets connected with Fox Sports Networks would be rebranded as “Root Sports.” On April 1, 2011, the network officially rebranded as Root Sports Northwest, with The Dan Patrick Show as the first show under the new banner. Fox Sports regional networks will continue to air programmes mostly delivered to Fox Sports 1 in order to provide supplemental sports and entertainment programming.
The Seattle Mariners announced in April 2013 that they would buy a controlling interest in Root Sports Northwest as part of a contract extension extending through the 2030 season. The network kept running under the name Root Sports, and DirecTV kept a controlling partnership and a small share of ownership.
Following AT&T’s acquisition of DirecTV, its sister networks were rebranded as AT&T SportsNet on July 14, 2017. Root Sports Northwest did not adopt the AT&T SportsNet name, presumably because AT&T is not the service’s principal owner. Root Sports presented a renamed version of AT&T SportsNet’s new on-air graphics anyway.
Prior to the 2021–22 season, Root Sports Northwest acquired the regional rights to both the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers and the NHL’s Seattle Kraken, a new expansion team that began play that year.
Root Sports started Root Sports Plus in October 2021 so that the Mariners, Kraken, and Blazers wouldn’t have to play on the same days.