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Mariners to buy a controlling interest in ROOT Sports

Apr 16, 2013, 1:30 PM EDT

Image (1) mariners%20logo.gif for post 4250

Plastics, Benjamin. Plastics!

Or TV. Which is all the rage now. With sports programming exploding in value — or cost, depending on your point of view — the Mariners have decided to purchase a controlling interest in ROOT Sports. It’s unclear as of yet whether this is just Root Sports Northwest, which serves Seattle, or the entire network, which is controlled by DirecTV.  I’d have to assume just the northwest affiliate, but there has yet to be an official announcement.

The money going to the Mariners comes from the exploding value of rights fees for live sports. Which, in turn, is paid for by cable subscribers whose bills have spiraled ever higher, mostly due to said sports rights fees.  If we’ve learned anything in the past, oh, course of human history, what goes up in value, especially quickly, must come down.  Whether it comes crashing down or floating down will determine whether the M’s have made a smart play here.


  1. Old Gator - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:45 PM

    I wonder what kind of root they’re investing in. Banisteriopsis would certainly help their fans have a more complete experience at the ballpark.

  2. cougfan82 - Apr 16, 2013 at 1:56 PM

    Yay…more years of horrible coverage of the M’s…worst HD Picture ever!

  3. heyblueyoustink - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:01 PM

    I know alot of folks who are “deconnecting” from cable, not subscribing, and relying on radio, internet radio, Hulu, etc, because of costs rising, or finding a way to watch something like “The Walking Dead” via a pirate website giving the ole shove off to the cable providers and AMC ( who’s tactics in those negotiations, from what i’ve read and seen as they banner threats across the bottom of your TV screen, I find deplorable.

    Not sure what to do yet, personally.

    Almost 2 weeks of no power from Sandy taught me I can live without it just fine. ( talk about your first world problems )

  4. wallio - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:17 PM

    Are the M’s still owned by Nintendo? And if they are, why can’t you stream games on your Wii or 3DS? Both are online. Seems like easy money to me. I’d pay for the games when they play the Sox.

    • chill1184 - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:22 PM

      I think in regards to that Nintendo has to work out an agreement with MLB, just like Sony and Microsoft have

  5. Reflex - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:23 PM

    Just remember, the M’s are a ‘small market team’ that can’t afford to spend serious money. Isn’t that right? 😉

  6. rhmurphy - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:39 PM

    Maybe – just maybe – the traditional economic explanation of higher demand for baseball on television is the correct narrative on this one. It isn’t blatantly contradicted by any of the recent stylized facts.

  7. jwbiii - Apr 16, 2013 at 2:53 PM

    Root also owns the broadcast rights to the Pirates and the Rockies. The Mariners’ deal pays them $45M/yr and they have an opt out after 2015, so I think that this is just DirecTV’s equivalent of a deadline trade.

  8. bigleagues - Apr 16, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Actually, some of the details are out and the deal is STAGGERING:

    – Mariners get MAJORITY stake in ‘new’ RSN partnership with DirecTV.

    – The new deal starts next season and will pay the Mariners approximately $2B over 17 years … that’s about $117M PER YEAR.

    – Mariners will get to shield some of the RSN’s income from baseball’s revenue sharing system.

    Overall, this moves the Mariners toward the front of the pack of lucrative RSN deals and sets them up to spend more to compete with the Angels, though that doesn’t seem to necessary right now. :-)

    And I agree with Craig’s sentiment, this will not end well.

    Yesterday we learned that Dish Network is making a bid to buy Sprint. And they are doing so in order to leverage new synergies in an increasingly uncertain industry. A Dish/Sprint marriage will allow Dish to offer programming options in new ways that aren’t currently possible. Many speculate that the deal is defensive as well as offensive as Dish’s CEO recognizes that more and more younger people are shunning cable’s exorbitant pricing in favor of services like Netflix. Dish could package TV, Phone and Internet – like cable does, but at a significantly lower cost.

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