The home of the Colorado Rockies will be no more. The Denver Post reports that AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain will shut down later this year while full-time employees’ last day of work will be October 6:
AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain notified its employees that the regional sports network is shutting down, according to multiple sources close to the situation. The last day of work for full-time employees at the network is Oct. 6, although it will continue running through at least the end of the year.
The Rockies have been on the channel which began as Prime Sports Rocky Mountain in 1997 and the channel has gone through numerous rebrands and owners including Fox Sports, DirecTV, AT&T, and now Warner Bros Discovery Sports. Last month, Warner Bros Discovery CEO David Zaslav announced that the AT&T SportsNet regional networks would either be shut down or sold by the end of the year.
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh has been turned over to Fenway Sports Group which owns the Penguins and in Houston, discussions are still underway on what will happen to AT&T SportsNet Southwest.
AT&T Sports Net Rocky Mountain is home to the Rockies and some college sports. And now that the channel will be going dark next month, the Rockies have a couple of options.
One is to join the Altitude regional sports network owned by Stan Kroenke. However, the network has long had problems with carriage on Comcast cable systems. Altitude airs the Colorado Avalanche and Denver Nuggets, both teams also owned by Kroenke.
The other option for the Rockies is to revert their rights to Major League Baseball which is what happened to the Arizona Diamondbacks and San Diego Padres when their rightsholder Diamond Sports missed payments to the teams. MLB was able to use the teams’ current channels on local cable systems plus offer streaming options for fans.
Other questions loom for the on-air and production staff. Drew Goodman, Jeff Huson and Ryan Spilborghs have called the games for many years (27th in our latest MLB announcer rankings) and host Jenny Cavnar has also called play-by-play as well.
When MLB took over the rights for the D’backs and Padres, they brought over the broadcast and production teams from Diamond and that could happen for the Rockies if the team decides to allow MLB to take over its rights.
The issue for the Rockies is that it will likely not receive the same amount of rights fees that the team had through WBD Sports. How to make up that revenue will be the question for 2024 and beyond. Unlike the Diamondbacks and Padres where MLB took over their rights mid-season, the Rockies do have some time to review their options and decide how to proceed in 2024.