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Root Sports and GCI playing nice

Seattle Mariners, Seahawks and prominent college conferences return to Juneau televisions

Posted: February 15, 2013 - 1:10am

“Sit back and enjoy,” GCI Vice President Dave Morris stated.

Morris was commenting on Thursday’s announcement that Root Sports and GCI will be bringing the Seattle Mariners back to GCI TV in time for spring training and the rest of the 2013 Major League Baseball season.

Morris stated it was a long-term contract with Root Sports but could not comment on length.

“All I can say is that it has been a long negotiation,” Morris said. “It has been over a year to get this back on track. Both parties came to mutually acceptable terms. This was a particular issue in Southeast, less so than other parts of the state, it was definitely not an easy decision to make to pull it last year. We are into a long term agreement now and so, yeah, sit back and enjoy.”

According to the joint press release, All ROOT SPORTS events, including the Seattle Mariners; Seattle Seahawks pregame, postgame and coaches’ shows; Portland Timbers, Seattle Sounders FC, and college football and basketball games from the most prominent conferences (including Pac 12 and Big 10) will be available to GCI TV customers all across Alaska, starting March 1. Juneau’s GCI TV customers can find ROOT SPORTS on channel 36 and in HD on channel 713.

“We and our team partners want to enable as many fans as possible to have access to all of our events,” says Patrick Crumb, President of DIRECTV Sports Networks, which operates ROOT SPORTS. ”We are thrilled to renew our long association with GCI. Our new agreement will allow thousands of GCI families throughout Alaska to follow the Seattle Mariners and other Northwest teams for years to come.”

With this new agreement, GCI customers will be able to watch 159 Mariners games during the 2013 season, in addition to six spring training game telecast beginning March 4. The Mariners regular season opens on April 1 against the Oakland Athletics on ROOT SPORTS at 6:00PM Alaska Standard Time. Every Mariners game is produced in high definition.

“The Mariners appreciate greatly our fans in Alaska. The partnership with ROOT SPORTS and GCI provides an important connection between the team and the fans throughout the state; from spring training throughout the summer and hopefully, into the postseason. “We are excited about the 2013 Mariners as we continue to grow into a championship-caliber team,” said Chuck Armstrong, President and Chief Operating Officer of the Mariners.

“GCI continues to bring valued services to our neighbors across Alaska without raising rates for GCI TV,” said Paul Landes, Senior Vice President of Consumer at GCI. ”The addition of ROOT SPORTS and the Mariners back to our lineup, is part of our effort to bring more sports related content for fans.”

In the past several months, GCI has launched the MLB, Pac-12 and Big Ten networks in HD.

For Juneau’s fan base and for fans such as Morris, a die-hard Chicago Cubs rooter, getting on the Seattle bandwagon was easy.

“This year it was kind of easy to be a Seattle fan, at least with the football season,” Morris said. “Little bit less so on the baseball side, I liked the Cubs and am one of the few who still believe, and I am not even from Chicago; anything that is that much of an underdog is worthy of my support from afar.”

Note: GCI is the largest telecommunications company in Alaska. Root Sports is the cable home of the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Seattle Sounders FC, Portland Timbers, Gonzaga Bulldogs, Seattle University Redhawks and Big Sky Conference. The network reaches more than 3.2 million viewers across five states, including Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Montana and Alaska, and delivers more than 350 live events each year – all of which are available in high definition. The are owned and operated by DIRECTV Sports Networks LLC, which operates regional sports networks in the Northwest, Pittsburgh and Rocky Mountain regions.

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