The Warner Bros. Discovery logo. The Warner Bros. Discovery logo.

The messy and ongoing Bally Sports bankruptcy saga has perhaps overshadowed the other important regional sports network story currently ongoing. That would be Warner Bros. Discovery’s plans to sell or shut down their three fully-owned RSNs (AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh, AT&T SportsNet Houston, and AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain: Root Sports Northwest remains unaffected, as it’s majority-owned by the Seattle Mariners, and WBD is only a minority shareholder and the network operator) after the conclusion of this MLB season.

The WBD RSN discussion has been a bit muted overall. And that’s perhaps because of how comparatively smooth that process has seemingly been relative to what’s going on with the Bally’s-branded, Diamond Sports-owned networks. In February, reports came out of WBD looking to get out of the RSN business quickly, but they struck a deal in April to keep those RSNs running through the 2023 MLB season. So that’s meant we haven’t seen as many “will they or won’t they?” levels around those networks as we have with the Bally networks and their payments.

However, the WBD news has still led to some teams looking for other options, including the NBA’s Utah Jazz. And, on a WBD earnings call Thursday, CEO David Zaslav confirmed that they will be getting rid of these RSNs (either with closures or sales) later this year. Here’s how Joe Flint of The Wall Street Journal relayed that Thursday:

An interesting difference from that, though, is how the company feels about their linear networks, including TBS, TNT, CNN, and HBO:

So that’s a sharp contrast to approaches from competitors, including NBCUniversal’s 2021 shutdown of NBCSN and Disney CEO Bob Iger’s recent musings that ABC perhaps “may not be core” to that company. It’s certainly notable to see that WBD still wants to keep their linear channels. And it’s also notable to see further confirmation on their RSN exit. We’ll see how this all plays out for them.

[The Wall Street Journal]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.