(carries some programming sourced from Bally Sports)
|Picture format||720p (HDTV)|
|Sister channels||AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain|
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh
AT&T SportsNet Southwest
|Former names||Northwest Cable Sports|
Prime Sports Northwest
Fox Sports Northwest
Fox Sports Net Northwest
Root Sports Northwest (stylized as ROOT SPORTS Northwest) is an American regional sports network owned as a 60/40 joint venture between the Seattle Mariners and Warner Bros. Discovery respectively, the latter of which operates it as part of the AT&T SportsNet chain of regional networks and as an affiliate of Bally Sports. Headquartered near Seattle in the city of Bellevue, Washington, the channel broadcasts regional coverage of sports events throughout the Pacific Northwest, with a focus on professional sports teams based in Seattle and Portland. It is available on cable providers throughout Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana, and Alaska and nationwide on satellite via DirecTV.
Root Sports Northwest was launched in late 1988 as Northwest Cable Sports, by Tele-Communications Inc. and Viacom. Early programming included games from Washington and Washington State Universities and Tacoma Stars soccer games. By 1989, it affiliated with the newly formed Prime Sports Network and was rebranded Prime Sports Northwest.
In 1996, News Corporation, which formed a sports division for the Fox network two years earlier after it obtained the broadcast rights to the National Football Conference and sought to create a group of regional sports networks, acquired a 50% interest in the Prime Network from Liberty. Later that year on November 1, News Corporation and Liberty Media relaunched the Prime Network affiliates as part of the new Fox Sports Net group, with the Seattle-based network officially rebranding as Fox Sports Northwest. The channel was rebranded as Fox Sports Net Northwest in 2000, as part of a collective brand modification of the FSN networks under the "Fox Sports Net" banner. Subsequently, in 2004, the channel shortened its name to FSN Northwest, through the networks' de-emphasis of 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, in an asset trade in which News Corporation also 16.3% 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 it would become a part of Liberty's entertainment unit, part of which would then be spun off into the separate company under the DirecTV name, in a deal in which Liberty would increase its share in DirecTV from 48% to 54%, with Liberty owner John Malone and his family owning a 24% interest. DirecTV would operate its newly acquired FSN-affiliated networks through DirecTV Sports Networks, a new division formed when the split off from Liberty Media was completed on November 19, 2009.
On December 17, 2010, DirecTV Sports Networks announced that its four Fox Sports Networks-affiliated regional outlets would be relaunched under the "Root Sports" brand. The network officially rebranded as Root Sports Northwest on April 1, 2011, with The Dan Patrick Show as the first program under the new Root Sports branding. For nominal purposes, the Root Sports networks continued to carry programming distributed mainly to the Fox Sports regional networks to provide supplementary sports and entertainment programming.
In April 2013, the Seattle Mariners announced that they would acquire controlling interest in Root Sports Northwest, as part of a long-term extension of its contract with the team through the 2030 season. DirecTV remained a minority stakeholder and controlling partner, and the network continued to operate under the Root Sports brand.
DirecTV was subsequently acquired by AT&T; on July 14, 2017, its sister networks were re-branded as AT&T SportsNet. Root Sports Northwest did not adopt the AT&T SportsNet brand, likely because AT&T is not the majority owner of the service. Nonetheless, Root Sports still introduced a rebranded version of AT&T SportsNet's new on-air graphics.
Ahead of their 2021–22 seasons, Root Sports Northwest acquired the regional rights to both the Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA, and the Seattle Kraken –a new NHL expansion franchise which began play that season.
In October 2021, Root Sports added an overflow channel, known as Root Sports Plus, to avoid scheduling conflicts with the Mariners, Kraken, and Blazers.
Root Sports holds the regional television rights to the Seattle Mariners of Major League Baseball, producing and televising over 150 live regular season games (out of 162 total), along with 30+ minute pregame and post-game shows that air before and after all telecasts produced by the network. Other Mariners programming on the network includes live Spring Training games, Mariners All Access, which includes both weekly editions during the regular season and several other in-season and off-season specials each year, and Mariners Mondays, a three-hour weekly program that airs during the winter months that highlights memorable games and moments from the past season.
Prime Sports Network began Mariners' broadcasts in 1994, with sixteen of the scheduled 88 televised games; the remainder were on KSTW. A players' strike eliminated the last quarter of the 1994 season and the first several weeks of the 1995 season.
Root Sports holds the regional television rights to the Seattle Kraken of the National Hockey League. Root Sports was announced as the team's inaugural regional television partner on January 26, 2021.
The Portland Trail Blazers of the NBA reached an agreement to carry games on Fox Sports Net Northwest beginning in the 2002-03 season, replacing the unpopular BlazerVision pay-per-views and team-run Action Sports Cable Network. This lasted until 2007, when the team signed with Comcast SportsNet Northwest (now NBC Sports Northwest).
When the Trail Blazers' contract was up for renewal in 2016, Root Sports outbid NBC Sports Northwest for the rights through the 2020–21 season. However, the team declined and renewed with NBC Sports Northwest instead, as Root Sports could not guarantee a carriage agreement with Comcast (NBCSNW's parent company).
In June 2021, it was announced that Root Sports had acquired the regional television rights to the Trail Blazers beginning in the 2021–22 season; the network's wider carriage, especially on streaming services and satellite, in comparison to NBCSNW was a factor in the acquisition. All Trail Blazers telecasts are produced in-house by the team.
Root Sports also holds the regional television rights to the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer.
Root Sports carries shoulder programming for the NFL's Seattle Seahawks, airing head coach Pete Carroll's weekly press conference, branded as Seahawks Press Pass, and the team's weekly magazine program, Seahawks All Access.
In Idaho and Montana only, Root Sports carries Utah Jazz and Vegas Golden Knights games and related programming produced by sister-network AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain. Due to territory rights, neither Portland Trail Blazers nor Seattle Kraken games will air in these areas of Idaho and Montana.
|Seattle Mariners||Portland Trail Blazers||Utah Jazz
(produced by ATTSN-RM)
|Seattle Kraken||Vegas Golden Knights|
(produced by ATTSN-RM)
Root Sports is the official regional cable home for Big Sky Conference football, airing between 10 and 15 games each season. Typically, the network will air one weekly Saturday afternoon match-up every week during conference play, until the final week of the regular season, when it features two rivalry match-ups in one weekend - Montana/Montana State (Brawl of the Wild) and Eastern Washington/Portland State. In the winter, the network home to West Coast Conference and Great Northwest Athletic Conference basketball. Local WCC coverage is primarily focused on the Gonzaga Bulldogs and Portland Pilots. The network also features various athletic events from the Mountain West, Atlantic Coast, Big East, and Big 12 Conferences throughout the year.
In addition to a wide array of collegiate programming, Root Sports televises Washington Interscholastic Activities Association high school football games on Thursday and Friday nights during the regular season, as well as playoff and championship games. Root's coverage is usually limited to games featuring teams from the 3A and 4A classification levels. In 2016, the network aired a two-part program covering the Northwest 9 training camp event for top high school quarterbacks from the Pacific Northwest. High school events broadcast by the network in recent years have also included Oregon School Activities Association high school football championship games and WIAA high school basketball.
On September 30, 2021, Dish Network's carriage agreements for Root Sports Northwest, and AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh and Rocky Mountain expired.