Satellite

DirecTV RSNs Near New Big Sky Pact

1/16/2012 12:01 AM Eastern

DirecTV-owned Root Sports and the Big
Sky Conference are nearing a deal for a new multiyear
programming renewal.

Sources familiar with the negotiations indicated the
agreement could be announced as soon as early this
week. The pact is expected to encompass Big Sky men’s
basketball, football and other athletic events.

Root Sports has three regional sports networks, two of
which — Root Sports Northwest and Root Sports Rocky
Mountain — span nearly all of the states with Big Sky
schools.

The deal will also grant Big Sky territorial media rights
throughout Alaska, where a number of transplants from
the Big Sky footprint now reside.

Root Sports’ Big Sky rights expansion into the nation’s
largest state could be a useful property in Root Sports
Northwest’s battle with GCI, Alaska’s top MSO. In a
license-fee dispute, GCI dropped the RSN at year-end
and replaced it with MLB Network, which has been positioned
on a more-expensive level of service.

The move will shut out GCI customers from watching
Seattle Mariners games, Major League Baseball’s homemarket
TV team in the state.

Root Sports is expected to launch a multimedia campaign
in Alaska to present its position on the matter.

November