We’ve reached Opening Day of the 2023 MLB season, and AT&T SportsNet Southwest still hasn’t been taken over by the Houston Astros and Rockets. Earlier this month, the Houston Chronicle reported that the two teams were aiming to take over from Warner Bros. Discovery as the RSN’s owners.
A deal hasn’t been closed yet however, though the Houston Chronicle reports the two teams are still negotiating with WBD and are aiming for a resolution “within weeks or months.” The report also notes that WBD is expected to continue operating the RSN “for much if not all of the baseball season.”
Officials familiar with the negotiations say the parties hope to reach an agreement on the network transfer within weeks or months but said it is likely that Warner Bros. Discovery will continue operating the channel for much if not all of the baseball season.
At the end of February, reports indicated that WBD Sports would be exiting the RSN business, leaving fans in three markets (Houston, Pittsburgh, and the Rocky Mountain region) in the lurch. MLB was soon revealed to be negotiating with distributors in those markets to keep the Astros, Pirates, and Rockies on the air, and the Astros and Rockets began talks to take over their RSN.
Given the lack of time teams were given about the AT&T SportsNet RSNs shutting down, it’s not a surprise that negotiations are still ongoing. Last month, the Sports Business Journal reported that WBD would “allow the teams to use the same production staff and equipment to continue producing the games” if they were able to reach agreements regarding their rights. While no agreements have been publicly announced yet, it appears there will be some leeway regarding the RSNs prior to the March 31st shutdown date.