DirecTV – Mariners rights deal gives team majority stake in Root Sports Northwest
DirecTV (Nasdaq: DTV) said it struck a long-term rights deal with the Seattle Mariners which gives the baseball team the majority stake in Root Sports Northwest, one of its three regional sports networks.
The top satellite TV provider said it'll continue to run Root Sports Northwest, which will have rights to Mariners games through 2030. The deal is valued at $2 billion, according to a report from Forbes.
The New York Yankees were one of the first baseball teams to launch its own network for pay TV distribution, pulling its games in 1999 from Madison Square Garden Network, which was owned at the time by Cablevision (NYSE: CVC). News Corp. (Nasdaq: NWSA) signed a deal with the Yankees and YES last fall that could see the media giant acquire an 80 percent stake in YES.
The Mariners – DirecTV deal could spark carriage disputes with Comcast (Nasdaq: CMCSA) and other pay TV distributors in the Northwest, as Root Sports will likely demand increased license fees when its contracts come up for renewal. Several pay TV distributors have started charging subscribers additional monthly fees to cover the costs of regional sports networks, including DirecTV, Verizon (NYSE: VZ) and Cablevision. DirecTV announced in February that it would begin charging about 5 million subscribers $3 monthly surcharges for RSNs.
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