Colorado Rockies Sep 21, 2022; Denver, Colorado, USA; General view of the backboard of Coors Field during a rain delay before the game between the San Francisco Giants against the Colorado Rockies. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

The Colorado Rockies have been searching for a media home for the last several months following the shutdown of AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain in the fall. However, it seems as if those efforts haven’t provided any fruit, and Rockies games will be produced and distributed by MLB in 2024.

Per the Denver Post, the Rockies are expected to follow the same route as the Padres and Diamondbacks did last season.

Now that AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain will no longer televise Rockies games, Major League Baseball is poised to move in, acquire the broadcast rights, and begin producing games this season. The setup will be similar to what happened in Arizona and San Diego last summer. Last March, the Diamond Sports Group declared bankruptcy and by mid-July had stopped televising Diamondbacks and Padres games. At that point, MLB took over and made games available to local fans via a cable channel or by paying for an subscription.

Padres rights were dropped by the Diamond Sports Group in late May, while Diamondbacks rights were dropped in mid-July. Both of the regional sports networks (RSNs) that aired the teams’ games, Bally Sports San Diego and Bally Sports Arizona, shut down last year.

Other MLB teams airing on AT&T SportsNet RSNs had softer landings than the Rockies. The Seattle Mariners bought out Warner Bros. Discovery’s minority stake in Root Sports Northwest. The Houston Astros partnered with the Houston Rockets to buy AT&T SportsNet Southwest and rebrand it as the Space City Home Network. After some questions about their future, the Pittsburgh Pirates joined the Fenway Sports Group as part of the ownership group of SportsNet Pittsburgh, formerly AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh.

The Post also reports that, as we saw with the Padres and Diamondbacks in 2023, the Rockies’ broadcast talent is expected to remain in place if games are produced and distributed by MLB. This includes play-by-play announcer Drew Goodman, who has been the voice of the Rockies for over two decades.

The shutdown of AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain provided opportunities for other teams airing on the RSN. The Vegas Golden Knights struck a deal with Scripps Sports, while the Utah Jazz cut one with Sinclair. Each team also launched a direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming app, allowing in-market fans to stream games not airing nationally without a cable subscription or antenna.

In the Denver market, the Kroenke-owned Altitude Sports & Entertainment was thought of as a possible landing spot for the Rockies, due to the lack of summer content on the RSN. Altitude airs the Denver Nuggets and Colorado Avalanche during the NBA and NHL seasons but lacks an MLB team to fill out its schedule in the warmer months of the year. A partnership between the Rockies and Altitude seemingly never came to fruition, and a long-running carriage dispute between Altitude and Comcast probably didn’t make a potential partnership palatable for the Rockies.

Since the RSN model began to collapse last year, an MLB team hasn’t gone the route that the Golden Knights, Jazz, Arizona Coyotes, and Phoenix Suns did in 2023, inking rights deals with companies to air games on broadcast networks. Scripps seemingly would have been the best option for the Rockies, due to the company’s ownership of both KCDO and KMGH in the Denver market and its growing interest in airing live sports, had the team gone that route, but it appears the Rockies will be the third NL West team to have their games produced and distributed by MLB.

[Denver Post]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.