DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream have yet to agree to carry the games of the Portland Trail Blazers and Seattle Kraken on Root Sports Northwest, according to the Seattle Times.
Root this year added the Kraken, an NHL expansion team, to its broadcast lineup which also includes the Seattle Mariners, and the Trail Blazers which switched earlier this year to Root from NBC Sports Northwest. (NBC Sports Northwest went out of business.)
While DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream carry Root Sports Northwest, their carriage agreements do not include the games of the two teams because they were added after the pacts were signed. For the two TV services to carry the Kraken and Trail Blazers games, they would have to agree to an amendment to their current carriage agreements.
“We are still in discussions with DIRECTV and hope they will add the Kraken and Trail Blazers to their platforms,” AT&T Sports Networks President Patrick Crumb said in an interview with the Seattle Times.
The dispute is now more urgent because Root’s first Kraken broadcast is scheduled tomorrow night when the team plays the Nashville Predators. (The Trail Blazers will not begin play this season until October 20 when they meet the Sacramento Kings.)
As the Seattle Times notes, this carriage battle is somewhat unusual because DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream are now co-owned by TPG, a private equity firm co-founded by Kraken majority owner David Bonderman. In addition, AT&T, which owns 70 percent of DIRECTV and DIRECTV Stream, has a minority stake in Root and manages the channel for its other owners, the Seattle Mariners and Warner Media. The latter is a division of AT&T.
For Kraken and Trail Blazers fans seeking alternatives, FuboTV is expected to add the total Root lineup in the “coming days.” Comcast and Charter also carry Root, but YouTube TV and Hulu Live do not.
The TV Answer Man has asked DIRECTV for a comment on the Root dispute and will report back here if we receive one.
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— Phillip Swann