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Mariners purchase majority stake in TV network

Posted: April 17, 2013 - 12:09am
Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero sits on the ground for a few moments against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)  Elaine Thompson
Elaine Thompson
Seattle Mariners catcher Jesus Montero sits on the ground for a few moments against the Texas Rangers in the first inning of a baseball game Sunday, April 14, 2013, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson)

SEATTLE — The Seattle Mariners and DIRECTV Sports Networks have announced partnership on a new regional sports network where the Mariners will be the majority stakeholder in the operation.

The deal was announced on Tuesday and will run through the conclusion of the 2030 baseball season. DIRECTV Sports Networks will take on a minority position with the venture, but will oversee the daily management of the network.

The Mariners said the new network will continue to operate under the ROOT Sports brand.

Mariners vice president of business operations Bob Aylward says the franchise is confident that it is maximizing the value of its television rights by becoming majority partner in the network. The channel will continue to show other pro, college and high school sports programing.

“This is great news for the Mariners and for sports fans in the Northwest,” Aylward said. “We are excited to continue our partnership with DIRECTV Sports Networks in this new way. We are investing to own a majority share of the new venture, and committing our rights well into the future, confident that this will maximize the value of our television rights and, more importantly, provide the resources to remain competitive on the field for many years to come.”

DIRECTV Sports Networks President Patrick Crumb said, “This is an opportunity to strengthen and extend our relationship with the Mariners for decades while continuing to leverage DIRECTV Sports Networks’ overall resources and expertise for the benefit of our new partnership with the Mariners in the Northwest region. This new structure will truly align our interests and allow us to work together to maximize the potential for the network and our coverage of Northwest sports.”

New York investment bank Allen & Company advised the Mariners on this transaction, guiding the club through the development and creation of this new venture. The Allen & Company team, led by Steve Greenberg, has extensive experience in the sports television industry, having negotiated television agreements for many professional sports franchises.

Greenberg said, “With the formation of this new regional sports network partnership, the Mariners have taken a significant step forward. MLB clubs that own a substantial stake in their own RSN’s tend to be among the strongest and most stable franchises in the league.”

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