The Mariners and DirecTV Sports Networks recently passed the one year anniversary mark of their deal, which reportedly gives the M’s an over 70% stake in ROOT Sports NW. So what has changed in the past twelve months? Not much, and that could be because the sides are still working out details of what they want the network to ultimately become. The network, understandably, is identified mostly by its M’s coverage. But as noted earlier here, if the M’s want to maximize the value of the network, they will be looking to add programming that regularly draws viewers for non-M’s related content. Realistically, the pull of the M’s is not enough.
Some of the most obvious options, such as the Sounders (live, local telecasts rather than delayed), Storm and Reign overlap with the M’s season but would help in adding live events. News and highlights shows might also get viewers tuning in consistently, though live programming is where the major viewership lies. But ultimately ROOT Sports is the one that has to decide how far they can go with their budget and how they want to define themselves. At this point, there remains plenty of upside to turn ROOT Sports into a true RSN that sports fans turn to for events and news.