Apparently Rooting is the new name of the game

I have watched a good amount of baseball the past few days thanks to my new-found ability to stream MLB.tv on my Apple TV.

The most interesting thing from a non-baseball perspective is the emergence of Root Sports.

And when I say Root, I’m talking about root, root, root for the home team. Not the things underneath trees.

Thanks to Google, I learned that several regional Fox Sports channels have been rebranded as “Root Sports.” That’s the case in Pittsburgh, Seattle, Salt Lake City and in Denver.

I don’t really know what to think of it. In some ways I appreciate the honesty. Broadcast partners of professional teams aren’t exactly the most critical people on the planet. There is frequently talk of looking for positives. Criticism is tempered if there at all. There is sometimes too much griping about calls from officials. And there is very little chance that someone is going to accuse broadcasters of being too negative.

I get that this is a business and the last thing a cable channel wants is for a franchise to be upset with the tone of broadcasts as the two sides need to work closely together. But “Root Sports”?

I know I’m a former journalist and that might mean that I’d like to see a bit more criticism/realism on broadcasts than hardcore fans. But this whole thing confuses me. Tell me what happens. Tell me when a guy is great. Be honest with me when things are going less than great. Give me realistic perspective. I hope that’s not too much to ask.

The follow up question for others out there is whether this whole Root Sport thing is going to spread. I don’t know how the ownership of all of the regional Fox Sports channels work. Are we destined to have Fox Sports North turn into Root Sports?

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3 thoughts on “Apparently Rooting is the new name of the game

  1. I wouldn’t make a big deal of the word “ROOT SPORTS”.

    It’s just a catchy name to attract fans. From watching the announcers that do Mariners, Rockies and Pirates games, they are not going to go overboard like Hawk Harrelson or even Dick Bremer does.

    As for announcers not being critical, remember they are employees of the team not the network. The team pays them to be a mouthpiece. The days of them being critical was over long time ago, and I agree that it stinks. I can’t watch Twins games on TV anymore because I am sick of Dick pouting or making excuses or talking about how the Twins do it the right way all the time. It got old. Just paint a great picture in calling a game. Is that hard to do now?

    To answer your question, Root Sports and Fox Sports North are different entities. Root Sports is Direct TV-owned sports network not Fox Sports owned, which is what Fox Sports North is.

    http://www.bizjournals.com/pittsburgh/news/2011/03/31/FSN-Pittsburgh-ROOT-Sports.html

    This site should give you a better explanation. Unless News Corp sells entire Fox Sports Net affiliates, the name should be the same.

  2. Jeff — shortly before I started here at FS-North (Oct. 2009), FSN sold off their regional networks in Seattle, Denver and Pittsburgh. It had something to do with regaining or retaining some ownership stake in DirecTV, but I am not totally familiar with the details.

    Anyway, as Bleacher says, they’re completely different entities and the Root brand will not find its way into this market.

  3. I saw the same thing and it got me wondering what Root sports was. I don’t understand it. This will sound bad, but I was also turned off by the lame attempts at getting more of the fans involved. The interviews with fans in the stands. The scrolling ticker at the bottom with things fans texted in. Count me as someone who doesn’t care to hear some random fan say, “Rockies are going all the way.” I prefer, at least as it goes for cosmetic appearances, the Fox Sports or some other journalistic-appearing broadcast.

    As for announcers, I am pretty sure they are the same announcers as used to be on the Fox Sports telecasts. At least with the Rockies games I know it to be the case.

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