The Seattle Mariners have landed the first-and probably last punch-in the RSN race in the Pacific Northwest. They purchased a controling interest the struggling RSN, ROOT Sports. Some of the other teams that either own-or own some kind of interest-in their local RSN’s are the; Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, Astros, Orioles, Nationals, Angels, Rangers, Padres, and (probably) the Dodgers.
This move should allow the Mariners to make a ton of money once their current contract (which locks the M’s in at a paltry $43 million a year) expires. For those fans who want to see the franchise spend more money, this is very, very good news; it means that the franchise will have access to a lot of cash income from operating ROOT Sports.
As a result of having a controlling interest,
the M’s will have a huge say as to what kind of programming goes on the network according to this post from Art Thiel the M’s won’t actually have a say about what goes on the network (which is sad, because the network could use a major overhaul) . That includes the future Sonics and NHL team.
It has widely been speculated on here and elsewhere that the M’s were opposed to the arena because they didn’t want the Sonics to come back before they could create their own RSN. They probably felt that Hansen would create his own RSN as soon as he got a new team, and they probably viewed that as a threat.
If that is true, it would make sense as to why Hansen has (and continually is) making such a hard push to get the Kings to come to Seattle. He wanted to be able to create his RSN before the Mariners put themselves in control of the market. Unfortunately for Hansen, the M’s beat him to the punch by purchasing the controlling interest of ROOT Sports from Direct TV.