|Launched||April 1, 2011|
|Network||Fox Sports Networks|
|Owned by||DirecTV Sports Networks
|Picture format||480i (SDTV)
|Broadcast area||National, through regional affiliates|
|Formerly called||FSN (four affiliates)|
Root Sports is the collective name for a group of regional sports networks that are owned by DirecTV Sports Networks, and affiliated with Fox Sports Networks. While previously operating under FSN branding, these four channels relaunched under the Root Sports name on April 1, 2011, coinciding with the start of the MLB regular season. Collectively, the Root Sports channels serve 8.3 million cable and satellite subscribers in 18 states.
Liberty Media originally acquired FSN's Pittsburgh, Northwest, and Rocky Mountain/Utah operations as part of a 2008 deal with News Corporation, who exchanged the networks, $550 million, and their controlling interest in The DirecTV Group for a 16.3% share of News Corp. that had been owned by Liberty. These three FSN affiliates became part of the Liberty Entertainment division, who also owned a stake in Game Show Network. In November 2009, Liberty Entertainment was spun off into DirecTV, and the FSN affiliates became part of the new DirecTV Sports Networks division.
In December 2010, DirecTV announced that it would be re-branding its FSN affiliates in 2011 under the new name Root Sports. The new brand was created to emphasize connections between the network and fans who passionately support (or "root" for) their local teams. The networks would, according to then DirecTV Sports Networks President/CEO Mark Shuken, have a "mindset" that "enables us to go from simply covering teams and games to providing an immersive experience as a fan and for the fan." The introduction of Root Sports was also intended to signify a form of independence from FSN; however, the Root Sports networks will maintain their current affiliations with the system. The Root Sports brand was phased in on the networks during the first quarter of 2011, and officially replaced the channels' FSN branding (FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain, FSN Utah) on April 1, 2011. The launch of Root Sports coincided with the opening weekend of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, as Root Sports holds broadcast rights for all of the MLB teams in their respective regions.
On November 17, 2014, DirecTV and AT&T acquired the bankrupt regional sports network Comcast SportsNet Houston as a 60/40 joint venture, and re-branded it as Root Sports Southwest, making it the first Root Sports network to not be a re-branded Fox Sports Networks affiliate.
The Root Sports group consists of four FSN affiliated and one former CSN affiliated sports network(s) :
|Name||Region served||Home to||Former name||Notes|
|Root Sports Southwest||Houston, Texas, East Texas, Southwestern Louisiana, portions of Arkansas, Bryan/College Station, Texas, Gulf Coast Texas, and parts of San Antonio and Austin markets.||Houston Rockets (NBA)
Houston Astros (MLB)
Houston Dynamo (MLS),
Houston Dash (NWSL),
Conference USA (college)
Southland Conference (college)
|Comcast SportsNet Houston||Formerly owned by the Houston Astros, the Houston Rockets, and NBCUniversal/Comcast as Comcast SportsNet Houston. Purchased by DirecTV and AT&T in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings.|
|Root Sports Northwest||Pacific Northwest, covers primarily
teams from Washington and Oregon
|Seattle Mariners (MLB),
Seattle Seahawks (NFL, team shows only),
Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers (MLS),
Western Athletic, Big Sky,
Mountain West, and West Coast conferences.
|FSN Northwest||In 2013, the Mariners acquired a controlling stake in the network as a result of its extended rights deal with Root Sports Northwest. DirecTV remains partial owner and operator of the network.|
|Root Sports Pittsburgh||All of Pennsylvania except the
Philadelphia market, most of
West Virginia, far Western Maryland,
southeastern Ohio and
far eastern Kentucky
|Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL),
Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB),
Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL, team shows only),
California University of Pennsylvania,
WPIAL high school football,
and local coverage of the
American Athletic Conference (via ESPN Regional Television),
Northeast, Atlantic Coast,
Big 12 and Pac-12 conferences.
|Root Sports Rocky Mountain||Denver and the Rocky Mountains||Colorado Rockies (MLB),
Denver Pioneers, and local coverage of the
Big 12, Big Sky, Western Athletic,
Conference USA, Mountain West conferences.
|FSN Rocky Mountain|
|Root Sports Utah||Utah||Utah Jazz (NBA),
University of Utah and Utah State University
|FSN Utah||Subfeed of Root Sports Rocky Mountain.|
- "Root Sports to Launch April 1". Broadcasting & Cable. March 31, 2011. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
- Hearn, Ted (February 25, 2008). "Liberty Media Completes DirecTV Buyout". Multichannel News. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- "Liberty Sports Rebrands As DirecTV Sports Networks - Liberty Transaction Triggers New Name For Group FSN NW, Pittsburgh, Rocky Mountain". Multichannel News. November 20, 2009. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- Mullaney, Tim and Riddell, Kelly (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV Group to Combine With Liberty Entertainment". Bloomberg News. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
- "DIRECTV Sports Networks Will Rebrand FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain in Spring 2011". Pittsburgh Penguins official site. December 17, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
- "'Root Sports' new name for sports networks". Denver Business Journal. December 17, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
- "Root Sports Southwest channel debuts Monday". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- Barron, David (August 6, 2014). "AT&T, DirecTV to take over Comcast SportsNet Houston". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
- "CSN Houston Chap. 11 Closing Arguments Now Oct. 30". Multichannel News. Retrieved 9 November 2014.
- All systems go for Root launch after CSNH legal hurdles cleared Houston Chronicle, November 6, 2014
- "Root Sports Houston to make Rockets debut on Monday". Ultimate Rockets. Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 14 November 2014.
- Eaton, Nick (April 16, 2013). "Update: Mariners buy, will control Root Sports Northwest TV network". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Retrieved April 16, 2013.