Root Sports

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Root Sports
Root sports logo.png
Launched April 1, 2011 (2011-04-01)
Network Fox Sports Networks
Owned by DirecTV Sports Networks
Picture format 720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
Country United States
Language English
Broadcast area Nationwide (through regional affiliates)
Headquarters San Francisco, California
DirecTV Consult channel lineup or program listings source for channel availability
Dish Network Consult channel lineup or program listings source for channel availability
Available on some U.S. cable systems Consult your local cable provider or program listings source for channel availability
Verizon FiOS Consult channel lineup or program listings source for channel availability
AT&T U-verse Consult channel lineup or program listings source for channel availability

Root Sports is the collective name for a group of regional sports networks in the United States that are primarily owned and operated by the DirecTV Sports Networks division of DirecTV, LLC, a subsidiary of AT&T. Each of the networks carry regional broadcasts of sporting events from various professional, collegiate and high school sports teams (with broadcasts typically exclusive to each individual network, although some are shown on more than one Root Sports network within a particular team's designated market area).

In addition to carrying team- and conference-related magazine, analysis and discussion programs exclusive to each region, most of the networks (with the current exception of Root Sports Southwest) also broadcast nationally distributed sports events, documentary and entertainment programs through a programming agreement with Fox Sports Networks, a remnant of their former ownership under their previous corporate parents.

While previously operating under FSN branding, these four networks relaunched under the Root Sports name on April 1, 2011, coinciding with the start of the Major League Baseball regular season. Collectively, the Root Sports networks serve 8.3 million cable and satellite subscribers in 18 states.[1] Root Sports maintains business and master control operations are based in San Francisco, California.


On December 22, 2006, Liberty Media acquired four Fox Sports regional networks – FSN Utah, FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest and FSN Rocky Mountain – as part of a deal with News Corporation, which exchanged the networks and its controlling 38.5% ownership interest in satellite provider DirecTV for US$550 million in cash and stock, in exchange for the 16.3% stake in News Corporation that had been owned by Liberty.[2][3] These three FSN affiliates became part of the Liberty Entertainment division, which also owned a stake in the Game Show Network.

On May 4, 2009, DirecTV Group Inc. announced it would become a part of Liberty Entertainment, and spin off certain properties into a separate company under the DirecTV name, in a deal in which Liberty would increase its share in DirecTV from a minority 48% to a controlling 54%, while Liberty owner John Malone and his family would own a 24% interest. DirecTV would then operate the four acquired FSN-affiliated networks through DirecTV Sports Networks,[4] a new division formed on November 19, 2009, upon the spin-off's completion.[5][6]

In December 2010, DirecTV announced that it would rebrand its FSN affiliates collectively under the "Root Sports" brand. 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 Mark Shuken, president and chief executive officer of DirecTV Sports Networks at the time, 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."[1] 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 group through a programming agreement.[7][8] 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 and 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.[1]

On August 6, 2014, DirecTV and AT&T acquired Comcast SportsNet Houston – which had earlier been granted a Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection placement through an involuntary petition filed by Comcast and NBCUniversal in September 2013[9] – as a 60/40 joint venture (with DirecTV as majority owner). The network was subsequently rebranded as Root Sports Southwest on November 17, 2014,[10][11][12][13] becoming the first Root Sports network to not be a rebranded Fox Sports Networks affiliate.


The Root Sports group consists of four FSN-affiliated and one former CSN-affiliated sports network(s):

Channel Region served Team rights Formerly operated as Year joined/launched Notes
Root Sports Northwest Pacific Northwest, covers primarily
teams from Washington and Oregon
Seattle Mariners (MLB)
Seattle Seahawks (NFL) (team-related programs only)
Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)
Portland Timbers (MLS)
Utah Jazz (NBA)
(via Root Sports Utah)
Western Hockey League
Western Athletic Conference sports
Big Sky Conference sports
Mountain West Conference sports
West Coast Conference sports
Northwest Cable Sports (1989–1992)
Prime Sports Northwest (1992–1996)
Fox Sports Northwest (1996–2000)
Fox Sports Net Northwest (2000–2004)
FSN Northwest (2004–2011)
2011 In April 2013, the Mariners acquired a controlling 60% 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.[14]
Root Sports Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (outside of the Philadelphia market)
most of West Virginia
(except for eastern panhandle)
far Western Maryland
southeastern Ohio
far eastern Kentucky
Pittsburgh Pirates (MLB)
Pittsburgh Penguins (NHL)
Pittsburgh Steelers (NFL) (team-related programs only)
Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League high school football
California University of Pennsylvania Vulcans football and basketball
American Athletic Conference basketball
(via ESPN Regional Television)
local coverage of Northeast Conference basketball
Atlantic Coast Conference basketball
(via Raycom Sports)
Big 12 Conference women's basketball
Pacific-12 Conference basketball
KBL Entertainment Network (1986–1994)
Prime Sports KBL (1994–1996)
Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh (1996–2004)
FSN Pittsburgh (2004–2011)
Root Sports Rocky Mountain Denver and the Rocky Mountains Colorado Rockies (MLB)
Denver Pioneers men's ice hockey
local coverage of Big 12 Conference football and basketball
local coverage of Big Sky Conference sports
local coverage of Western Athletic Conference sports
local coverage of Conference USA sports
local coverage of Mountain West Conference sports
Prime Sports Network (1988–1990)
Prime Sports Rocky Mountain (1990–1996)
Fox Sports Rocky Mountain (1996–2000)
Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain (2000–2004)
FSN Rocky Mountain (2004–2011)
Root Sports Southwest Houston metropolitan area
East Texas
Bryan/College Station
Texas Gulf Coast
parts of San Antonio and Austin markets
Southwestern Louisiana
portions of Arkansas
Houston Astros (MLB)
Houston Rockets (NBA)
Houston Dynamo (MLS)
Houston Dash (NWSL)
Conference USA sports
Southland Conference sports
Mountain West Conference sports
Comcast SportsNet Houston (2012–2014) 2014 Formerly owned by the Houston Astros, the Houston Rockets, and NBCUniversal/Comcast as Comcast SportsNet Houston. Purchased by DirecTV Sports Networks (60%) and AT&T (40%) and AT&T in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Due to the presence of Fox Sports Southwest on cable providers in its regional territory, Root Sports Southwest does not carry any programming distributed by Fox Sports Networks.
Root Sports Utah Utah Utah Jazz (NBA)
Utah Utes sports
Utah State Aggies sports
Big 12 Conference football, baseball and basketball
Big Sky Conference football, baseball and basketball
Western Athletic Conference football, baseball and basketball
Conference USA football, baseball and basketball
Mountain West Conference football, baseball and basketball
Prime Sports Intermountain West (1988–1996)
Fox Sports Utah (1996–2000)
Fox Sports Net Utah (2000–2004)
FSN Utah (2004–2011)
2011 Operates as a subfeed of Root Sports Rocky Mountain.

Related services[edit]

Root Sports HD[edit]

Root Sports HD is a high definition simulcast feed of select programs from Root Sports including live sports events, studio shows and Fox Sports Networks-distributed national programming. Each regional channel (and in some cases, their alternate feed) has its own separate high-definition feed, with their own set schedules of programming that are made available in HD.

Root Sports Plus[edit]

Currently, Root Sports Northwest, Root Sports Pittsburgh and Root Sports Southwest maintain alternate (or overflow) feeds under the Root Sports Plus brand (with the network's regional name suffixed preceding the "Plus" title) for the broadcast of two or more events involving teams that the respective networks hold the broadcast rights to carry. These overflow feeds are available via digital cable, telco and satellite providers in their home markets, which may provide alternate programming when not used to carry conflicting scheduled game broadcasts.


  1. ^ a b c Tim Baysinger (March 31, 2011). "Root Sports to Launch April 1". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 1, 2011. 
  2. ^ "News Corp. Reaches Deal with Liberty Media". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). December 22, 2006. Retrieved April 9, 2015. 
  3. ^ Ted Hearn (February 25, 2008). "Liberty Media Completes DirecTV Buyout". Multichannel News (Reed Business Information). Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  4. ^ Todd Spangler (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV, Liberty Media Announce Spin-Off Plan". Multichannel News (Reed Business Information). Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  5. ^ Mike Reynolds (November 20, 2009). "Liberty Sports Rebrands As DirecTV Sports Networks". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  6. ^ Tim Mullaney; Kelly Riddell (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV Group to Combine With Liberty Entertainment". Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg News. Retrieved April 22, 2011. 
  7. ^ "DIRECTV Sports Networks Will Rebrand FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain in Spring 2011". Pittsburgh Penguins. December 17, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2011. 
  8. ^ "'Root Sports' new name for sports networks". Denver Business Journal (American City Business Journals). December 17, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011. 
  9. ^ David Barron (February 4, 2014). "Judge places Comcast SportsNet houston in bankruptcy". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved February 4, 2014. 
  10. ^ David Barron (September 27, 2013). "CSN Houston bankruptcy filing surprises Astros". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved April 18, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Root Sports Southwest channel debuts Monday". Houston Chronicle (Ultimate Rockets). Hearst Corporation. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014. 
  12. ^ David Barron (August 6, 2014). "AT&T, DirecTV to take over Comcast SportsNet Houston". Houston Chronicle (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved August 7, 2014. 
  13. ^ Mike Reynolds (October 22, 2014). "CSN Houston Chap. 11 Closing Arguments Now Oct. 30". Multichannel News (NewBay Media). Retrieved November 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Nick Eaton (April 16, 2013). "Update: Mariners buy, will control Root Sports Northwest TV network". Seattle Post-Intelligencer (Hearst Corporation). Retrieved April 16, 2013. 

External links[edit]