AT&T Sports Networks
|Liberty Sports Holdings
DirecTV Sports Networks (2009–2016)
|Parent||Liberty Media (2008–2009)
AT&T Sports Networks (formerly Liberty Sports Holdings and DirecTV Sports Networks) is a unit of DirecTV, a division of AT&T Inc., which consists of five regional sports networks: Root Sports Pittsburgh, Root Sports Rocky Mountain, Root Sports Northwest, Root Sports Utah, and Root Sports Southwest. The group was formed in 2008 when Liberty Media completed its purchase of four networks from News Corporation as a result of a stock swap for NewsCorp's stake in DirecTV.
On May 4, 2009, DirecTV Group Inc. said it would become a part of Liberty's entertainment unit, part of which would then be spun off as a separate company called DirecTV, a satellite television provider. Liberty would increase its share of DirecTV from 48 to 54 percent, with Malone and his family owning 24 percent. The resulting company would own the Game Show Network, FUN Technologies and three regional sports networks that had been part of Liberty. The Dan Patrick radio and TV shows were acquired by DirecTV and became part of The DirecTV Sports Networks in October 2009.
It was split off from Liberty Media and renamed DirecTV Sports Networks on November 19, 2009.
In 2010, Liberty Media owner John Malone exchanged his Class B shares in DirecTV (a 23% voting interest in the company) for an equivalent amount of Class A common shares, thus ending Malone's management role at the company.
On April 1, 2011, the four FSN affiliates owned by DirecTV re-branded under the new name Root Sports. The timing of the change coincided with the opening weekend of the Major League Baseball season, as the Root Sports channels have broadcasting deals with their region's MLB teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates, Seattle Mariners, and Colorado Rockies.
On November 17, 2014, a 60/40 joint venture between DirecTV and AT&T acquired the bankrupt Comcast SportsNet Houston, and re-launched it as Root Sports Southwest. The network is now 100% owned de facto by DirecTV Sports Networks due to the acquisition of DirecTV by AT&T.
On April 8, 2016, DirecTV Sports Networks rebranded under the AT&T name as AT&T Sports Networks.
- Yao, Deborah (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV, Liberty Media Detail Spinoff Plans". Associated Press. Retrieved May 4, 2009.[dead link]
- "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 November 20, 2009.
- DIRECTV Completes Malone Exchange Transaction. DirecTV press release, February 25, 2011. Retrieved February 26, 2011.
- "DIRECTV Sports Networks Will Rebrand FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain in Spring 2011". Pittsburgh Penguins official site. December 17, 2010. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- Barron, David (August 6, 2014). "AT&T, DirecTV to take over Comcast SportsNet Houston". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved October 11, 2014.
- "Root Sports Southwest channel debuts Monday". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
- "FCC approves AT&T–DirecTV merger". The Verge. Vox Media. July 24, 2015. Retrieved July 24, 2015.
- "Root Sports regional nets now part of AT&T Sports Networks". Awful Announcing. Ken Fang. April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2016.