When AT&T Sports Networks (which manages ROOT Sports Northwest, although that particular regional sports network is primarily owned by the Seattle Mariners) announced their carriage partners Tuesday, DirecTV (owned by AT&T, but recently spun off from the main company) and its streaming companion DirecTV Stream was not included. That didn’t particularly matter that day, with the Seattle Kraken’s opening game being carried nationally on ESPN (and not on local RSNs), but it does matter for the upcoming games. And, as Geoff Baker of The Seattle Times writes, those sides have now made a deal, meaning that ROOT Sports Northwest will indeed be carried on DirecTV and DirecTV Stream this year (which is particularly notable for Kraken and Portland Trail Blazers games):
That changed in the hours and evening that followed. A source said the respective heads of AT&T Sports Networks and DirecTV ironed out remaining obstacles by phone during Tuesday’s inaugural Kraken game in Las Vegas being shown nationally on ESPN — which superseded any local ROOT Sports broadcast under the NHL’s rights deal.
“We couldn’t be more pleased about adding DirecTV and DirecTV Stream to the list of providers for the Kraken and the Trail Blazers,” AT&T Sports Networks vice president Nina Kinch said in a statement. “DirecTV continues to be a champion of local sports coverage for fans everywhere. Having the games available on DirecTV and DirecTV Stream is great news for Kraken and Trail Blazers fans who choose to watch the game from home or on the go.”
Fans looking to stream Thursday night’s Kraken game in Nashville against the Predators can also do so through fuboTV, which reached an agreement with ROOT Sports last month. Though some operational issues have kept the streaming service from adding ROOT Sports to its lineup right away, the plan is for the RSN to be added Thursday morning ahead of the 5 p.m. game.
It’s certainly helpful for the Kraken to gain further distribution for their games in this, their first season. And it’s also notable that this is a deal that covers both traditional satellite provider DirecTV and their associated virtual multichannel video provider, DirecTV Stream.
This is interesting for the Trail Blazers as well, as one of the big issues around their relocation from NBC Sports Northwest (which shut down this summer following their exit) to ROOT was around availability through virtual MVPDs. Now, they at least have DirecTV Stream availability, and it sounds like they’re about to get fuboTV as well. So that’s a decent gain for those who don’t want traditional cable or satellite but do want to watch local Trail Blazers games.