On Friday, the Houston Astros and Rockets officially announced the acquisition of AT&T SportsNet Southwest, which has been rebranded as the Space City Home Network.
The network will officially rebrand on October 3, and its first live game broadcast will be a Rockets-Pacers preseason game on October 10. The network retains the media rights to the Astros and Rockets along with high school and college sports.
The Space City Home Network also retains the channel numbers from AT&T SportsNet Southwest.
Both teams and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports lauded the agreement.
“We are excited to partner with the Rockets and launch the new home for Astros and Rockets coverage with Space City Home Network,” said Giles Kibbe, Astros Senior Vice President, General Counsel. “Together with the Rockets we’ve worked hard to ensure that Space City Home Network will bring you the same Astros and Rockets sports coverage from the faces and voices you know and love. We look forward to this new chapter and remain committed to delivering great broadcasts for the best fans in baseball.”
“We’ve had a strong relationship with the talent and staff at AT&T SportsNet in broadcasting Rockets games over the years and are excited to have that live on as Space City Home Network,” said Rockets President of Business Operations Gretchen Sheirr. “We’ve worked alongside the Astros and network personnel to ensure this will be a smooth changeover for our fans and look forward to the positive impact this collaboration and local ownership will have on our broadcast.”
“We appreciate the collaboration from the Astros and Rockets as we reach an agreement that is in the best interest of all parties, including the fans we all serve,” said Patrick Crumb, President, Regional Sports Networks, Warner Bros. Discovery Sports. “I’d especially like to thank all of our Houston-based colleagues who will continue to passionately showcase both teams through this new venture. We wish the Astros and Rockets much success as they assume ownership of the network.”
In February, it was reported that Warner Bros. Discovery was looking to shut down its three regional sports networks (RSNs). In March, the Astros and Rockets were reported to be looking to take over AT&T SportsNet Southwest, but WBD seemed likely to continue running the RSN through the 2023 MLB season. That ended up being a dead-on prediction, with the Astros’ regular season wrapping up on Sunday, two days prior to the official rebrand.
AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh was sold to the Fenway Sports Group, owners of the Pittsburgh Penguins and rebranded as SportsNet Pittsburgh. AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain will be shut down following the end of the Rockies’ regular season on Sunday, with October 6 as the final day for full-time employees. The Rockies still do not have a broadcast home for the 2024 season, while the Utah Jazz and Vegas Golden Knights, a pair of teams also broadcast on the RSN, have struck new local deals with Sinclair and Scripps respectively and launched direct-to-consumer (DTC) plans.
This isn’t the first foray into owning an RSN for the Astros and Rockets. The teams launched CSN Houston back in 2012 in partnership with Comcast, and it took just a year for the network to go bankrupt amidst a lack of carriage deals. It was acquired by AT&T and DirecTV and rebranded as Root Sports Houston in late 2014.