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AT&T SportsNet

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

AT&T Sports Networks, LLC
CountryUnited States
Broadcast areaNationwide (through regional affiliates)
HeadquartersAtlanta, Georgia
Picture format720p (HDTV)
480i (SDTV)
OwnerWarner Bros. Discovery
ParentTNT Sports
Sister channels
LaunchedMay 4, 2009; 15 years ago (2009-05-04) (networks)
April 1, 2011; 13 years ago (2011-04-01) (corporation)
ClosedOctober 21, 2023; 7 months ago (2023-10-21)
Former namesNetworks: Liberty Sports Holdings (2009)
DirecTV Sports Networks (2009–2016)
Corporation: Root Sports (2011–2017)
WebsiteOfficial website

AT&T Sports Networks, LLC (ATTSN) was a group of regional sports networks in the United States that primarily own and operate AT&T Sports Networks (founded in 2009, as Liberty Sports Holdings,[1] later DirecTV Sports Networks, LLC). It was owned by Warner Bros. Discovery through TNT Sports. Each of the networks carried regional broadcasts of sporting events from various professional, collegiate and high school sports teams (with broadcasts typically exclusive to each individual network, although some were shown on more than one AT&T-branded 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 Space City Home Network) also broadcast nationally distributed sports events, documentary and entertainment programs through a programming agreement with Bally Sports, which is the successor to Fox Sports Networks, a remnant of their former ownership under their previous corporate parents.

While previously operating under the FSN name, these four networks relaunched under the brand Root Sports on April 1, 2011, coinciding with the start of the Major League Baseball regular season. On July 14, 2017, following the acquisition of DirecTV by AT&T, the networks (besides Root Sports Northwest as it is majority-owned by the Seattle Mariners and minority-owned by Warner Bros. Discovery) were re-branded under the name AT&T SportsNet, coinciding with the second half of the 2017 Major League Baseball season. Collectively, the networks serve 13 million cable and satellite subscribers in 22 states.[2] AT&T SportsNet master control operations were based in Atlanta, Georgia.

On February 24, 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it would leave the RSN business.[3][4] The AT&T SportsNet name was no longer used as of October 21, 2023. SportsNet Pittsburgh succeeded the network's Pittsburgh affiliate and the Space City Home Network succeeded AT&T SportsNet Southwest. SportsNet Rocky Mountain laid off all of its employees and effectively shut down on October 6, 2023.

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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.[5][6] 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,[7] a new division formed on November 19, 2009, upon the spin-off's completion.[8][9]

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."[10] 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.[11][12] 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.[10]

On August 6, 2014, DirecTV and AT&T (which was in the process of acquiring DirecTV) 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[13] – as a 60/40 joint venture (with DirecTV as majority owner). The network was subsequently rebranded as Root Sports Southwest on November 17, 2014,[14][15][16][17] becoming the first Root Sports network to not be a rebranded Fox Sports Networks affiliate.

In April 2016, following the completion of the acquisition of DirecTV by AT&T, DirecTV Sports Networks rebranded under the AT&T name as AT&T Sports Networks. Following this announcement, the channels began to downplay the Root Sports brand by replacing their logo bugs with an AT&T Sports Networks logo, restricting the Root Sports brand to station identification only.[18] Three of the channels were re-branded as AT&T SportsNet on July 14, 2017, introducing new logos and on-air graphics. Root Sports Northwest adopted the new AT&T SportsNet graphics,[19] but remains under the Root Sports brand; it is the only network in the group that is not majority-owned by AT&T.[20][21]

Following AT&T's acquisition of Time Warner in 2018, AT&T SportsNet was moved into the WarnerMedia News & Sports division in March 2019, alongside Time Warner's existing national sports unit Turner Sports.[22]

In February 2020, the New York Post reported that AT&T had abandoned a plan to divest the channels, after only receiving bids in excess of $500 million (rather than the $1 billion valuation it had expected).[23] In May 2021, it was announced that AT&T would instead divest the entirety of WarnerMedia, and contribute it into a joint venture with Discovery Inc., forming a new company later announced as Warner Bros. Discovery.[24][25] Discovery announced on April 7, 2022, that Patrick Crumb, president of AT&T Sports Networks, would report to the yet-to-be-named Chairperson for Warner Bros. Discovery Sports; Jeff Zucker departed the company upon the completion of the merger, but his successor Chris Licht will only oversee CNN.[26] The merger was completed the following day.[25] During this time until closure, the networks licensed the AT&T branding and logo.

On February 24, 2023, Warner Bros. Discovery announced that it would leave the RSN business. The company also sent messages to teams it has deals with, notifying them they had until March 31 to reach an agreement to take their rights back or acquire the networks. If no deal was made before the deadline, Warner Bros. Discovery stated that the channels would go into Chapter 7 bankruptcy liquidation. Those teams with deals with Root Sports Northwest are not affected because that channel already is majority-owned by the Seattle Mariners.[3][4][27]

Despite the March 31 deadline passing, the Houston Astros and Houston Rockets continued to negotiate to take over AT&T SportsNet Southwest from Warner Bros. Discovery,[28] while Major League Baseball continued to negotiate a deal to keep all the RSNs operational through the end of the 2023 MLB season.[29] Meanwhile, the Vegas Golden Knights and Utah Jazz signed deals to move on from AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain to over-the-air television in their home markets.[30][31] Then on August 28, John Ourand of the Sports Business Journal reported that Fenway Sports Group, controlling owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins, would take over AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh;[32] Three days later, Fenway and the Penguins announced that AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh would be rebranded to SportsNet Pittsburgh on October 2.[33] The Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies were also reported to be considering whether to assign their local telecast rights to Major League Baseball, or sign deals with SportsNet Pittsburgh or Altitude Sports and Entertainment respectively.[32] On September 29, the Astros and the Rockets announced that they have closed the deal to acquire AT&T SportsNet Southwest, and then rebranded the channel as Space City Home Network on October 3.[34] On October 6, all full-time employees of AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain were laid off, with that network shutting down on October 21, ahead of their December 31 deadline.[35]

In December of that year, the Seattle Times reported that the Mariners would acquire full control of Root Sports at the beginning of 2024.[36]


Channel Region served Team rights Formerly operated as Year joined/launched Notes Current Name/Owner
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh Pennsylvania (outside of the Philadelphia market)
most of West Virginia
(except for eastern panhandle)
far Western Maryland
southeastern Ohio
extreme southwestern New York
far eastern Kentucky


High School & Youth:

KBL Entertainment Network (1986–1994)
Prime Sports KBL (1994–1996)
Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh (1996–2004)
FSN Pittsburgh (2004–2011)
Root Sports Pittsburgh (2011–2017)
2011 Currently owned by the Pittsburgh Penguins with day-to-day operations managed by NESN SportsNet Pittsburgh, owned by Fenway Sports Group
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain Denver, the Rocky Mountains, Utah and Nevada Professional:


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 Rocky Mountain (2011–2017)
2011 Operated AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain West and AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain Utah as subfeeds SportsNet Rocky Mountain, ceased operations on December 31, 2023.
AT&T SportsNet Southwest Houston metropolitan area
East Texas
Bryan/College Station
Texas Gulf Coast
parts of San Antonio and Austin markets
Southwestern Louisiana
portions of Arkansas


High School:

  • UIL high school football
Comcast SportsNet Houston (2012–2014)
Root Sports Southwest (2014–2017)
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%) in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. Due to the presence of Bally Sports Southwest on cable providers in its regional territory, AT&T SportsNet Southwest did not carry any programming distributed by Bally Sports. Space City Home Network, owned jointly by Astros & Rockets
Root Sports Northwest Pacific Northwest and Alaska, covers primarily
teams from Washington and Oregon


Northwest Cable Sports (1989–1992)
Prime Sports Northwest (1992–1996)
Fox Sports Northwest (1996–2000)
Fox Sports Net Northwest (2000–2004)
FSN Northwest (2004–11)
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. Warner Bros. Discovery remained partial owners and operators of the network until the Mariners had acquired the rest of Warner Bros. Discovery's stake in January 2024.[37][38] Still operating as Root Sports

Related services

AT&T SportsNet Plus/ROOT Sports Plus

Currently, AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Southwest and ROOT Sports Northwest maintain alternate (or overflow) feeds under the AT&T SportsNet Plus or 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.

Video streaming

Since 2017, AT&T SportsNet streaming is available to TV Everywhere authenticated subscribers. AT&T SportsNet Southwest will be added to FuboTV starting February 11, 2019, becoming the first over-the-top streaming service to provide any AT&T SportsNet channel[39]


  1. ^ Mike Reynolds (2009-11-20). "Liberty Sports Rebrands As DirecTV Sports Networks". Multichannel News. Retrieved 2022-05-05.
  2. ^ "About Root Sports | ROOT SPORTS". Archived from the original on 2017-07-06. Retrieved 2017-06-30.
  3. ^ a b "Warner Bros. Discovery tells teams it is leaving RSN business". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved 2023-02-25.
  4. ^ a b Weprin, Alex (2023-02-24). "Warner Bros. Discovery Seeks to Exit Regional Sports Networks Business". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2023-02-25.
  5. ^ "News Corp. Reaches Deal with Liberty Media". The New York Times. December 22, 2006. Archived from the original on 2015-04-16. Retrieved April 9, 2015.
  6. ^ Ted Hearn (February 25, 2008). "Liberty Media Completes DirecTV Buyout". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  7. ^ Todd Spangler (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV, Liberty Media Announce Spin-Off Plan". Multichannel News. Reed Business Information. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  8. ^ Mike Reynolds (November 20, 2009). "Liberty Sports Rebrands As DirecTV Sports Networks". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  9. ^ Tim Mullaney; Kelly Riddell (May 4, 2009). "DirecTV Group to Combine With Liberty Entertainment". Bloomberg L.P. Bloomberg News. Retrieved April 22, 2011.
  10. ^ a b Tim Baysinger (March 31, 2011). "Root Sports to Launch April 1". Broadcasting & Cable. NewBay Media. Retrieved April 1, 2011.
  11. ^ "DIRECTV Sports Networks Will Rebrand FSN Pittsburgh, FSN Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain in Spring 2011". Pittsburgh Penguins. December 17, 2010. Retrieved March 22, 2011.
  12. ^ "'Root Sports' new name for sports networks". Denver Business Journal. American City Business Journals. December 17, 2010. Retrieved February 5, 2011.
  13. ^ David Barron (February 4, 2014). "Judge places Comcast SportsNet houston in bankruptcy". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved February 4, 2014.
  14. ^ David Barron (September 27, 2013). "CSN Houston bankruptcy filing surprises Astros". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. Archived from the original on August 21, 2016. Retrieved April 18, 2015.
  15. ^ "Root Sports Southwest channel debuts Monday". Houston Chronicle (Ultimate Rockets). Hearst Corporation. November 17, 2014. Retrieved November 17, 2014.
  16. ^ David Barron (August 6, 2014). "AT&T, DirecTV to take over Comcast SportsNet Houston". Houston Chronicle. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  17. ^ Mike Reynolds (October 22, 2014). "CSN Houston Chap. 11 Closing Arguments Now Oct. 30". Multichannel News. NewBay Media. Retrieved November 9, 2014.
  18. ^ "Root Sports regional nets now part of AT&T Sports Networks". Awful Announcing. Ken Fang. April 9, 2016. Retrieved April 9, 2016.
  19. ^ "ROOT Sports NW Debuts New Graphics on Mariners Telecasts". From the Corner of Edgar & Dave. 2017-07-15. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  20. ^ "AT&T Rebranding Three ROOT Sports RSNs as 'AT&T SportsNet' in July". Sports Video Group. 13 June 2017. Retrieved 19 June 2017.
  21. ^ "Root Sports Southwest is now AT&T SportsNet Southwest". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved 2017-07-15.
  22. ^ Feiner, Lauren (March 4, 2019). "WarnerMedia reorganizes its leadership team after AT&T acquisition". CNBC. Retrieved March 4, 2019.
  23. ^ Kosman, Josh (2020-02-18). "AT&T's auction to sell four regional sports channels falls short". New York Post. Retrieved 2020-02-24.
  24. ^ Kovach, Steve; Meredith, Sam (May 17, 2021). "AT&T announces $43 billion deal to merge WarnerMedia with Discovery". CNBC. Retrieved June 2, 2021.
  25. ^ a b Maas, Jennifer (April 8, 2022). "Discovery Closes $43 Billion Acquisition of AT&T's WarnerMedia". Variety. Penske Media Corporation. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  26. ^ "Discovery, Inc. Announces Future Leadership Team for Warner Bros. Discovery". Discovery, Inc. April 7, 2022. Retrieved April 8, 2022.
  27. ^ "ROOT Sports Northwest says it's not impacted by Warner Bros. Discovery exiting local sports business". The Seattle Times. 2023-02-24. Retrieved 2023-03-20.
  28. ^ Barron, David (March 14, 2023). "Astros, Rockets negotiating to take over AT&T SportsNet Southwest". Houston Chronicle. Retrieved March 14, 2023.
  29. ^ Lucia, Joe (April 10, 2023). "Warner Bros. Discovery, MLB nearing deal to keep RSNs running through 2023 season". Awful Announcing. Retrieved April 18, 2023.
  30. ^ "Vegas Golden Knights, Scripps Sports announce 'historic' broadcast partnership". KTNV 13 Action News Las Vegas. 2023-05-04. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  31. ^ "Utah Jazz will air games free, sell streaming packages to fans next season". The Salt Lake Tribune. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  32. ^ a b "Sports Media: WBD Sports closer to exit from nearly all of its RSN business". 2023-08-28. Retrieved 2023-08-28.
  33. ^ "Penguins Announce 'SportsNet Pittsburgh' as Regional Sports Network". Retrieved 2023-08-31.
  35. ^ "AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain shutting down, leaving Rockies broadcasts in limbo for 2024, sources say". The Denver Post. 2023-09-05. Retrieved 2023-10-11.
  36. ^ "Mariners to take full control of ROOT Sports NW, clouding team's financial outlook". The Seattle Times. December 15, 2023. Retrieved December 16, 2023.
  37. ^ Nick Eaton (April 16, 2013). "Update: Mariners buy, will control Root Sports Northwest TV network". Seattle Post-Intelligencer. Hearst Corporation. Retrieved April 16, 2013.
  38. ^ "Mariners to take full control of ROOT Sports NW, clouding team's financial outlook". The Seattle Times. 2023-12-15. Retrieved 2023-12-21.

External links

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