We concluded our negotiations with Root Sports this week, and unfortunately were unable to come to agreement on terms to continue carrying the network after our current agreement expires on December 31, 2012. BendBroadband and Root Sports have worked hard, without success, to find a mutually acceptable compromise.
Over the years Root Sports has lost much of its popular programming to other networks. Most recently this includes loss of live PAC12 sports to the newly formed PAC12 Networks. While they were willing to reduce the rate we pay them in 2013 to somewhat recognize this loss of programming, it would have remained one of our most expensive channels, with very limited viewership. Our anonymous viewership data suggest that very few set tops are tuned to this network at any given time, with the most popular programming being their Seattle Mariners coverage during the baseball season. We hope Mariner fans will continue to enjoy high-profile baseball games that become available on ESPN, ESPN2, MLB Network and TBS.
Another critical factor in our decision to drop Root Sports was their continued insistence that we distribute the network in our Essentials video package. Simply put this requirement forces the vast majority of our customers to pay for an expensive channel they don’t watch. By dropping the network we can apply the savings in programming cost to offset rate increases from other cable networks and help keep prices lower for all of our cable TV subscribers.
We were pleased to be able to offer ESPN, ESPN2 and all 7 Pac-12 Networks for Pac-12 games and full coverage this season. While Root Sports continues to re-run a few Pac-12 games, most* of their Pac-12 live coverage has moved to ABC, ESPN and the Pac-12 Networks. Root has some Portland Timbers soccer games as well and a limited number of these games can be found on ESPN and ESPN2. We apologize for any inconvenience to local Timbers fans, and hope that the many other sports networks BendBroadband offers will help to offset any loss in sports viewing for you and your family.
If you have any questions about this decision, you can find our Q&A available on our Help/Support website or post a question below.
* Root carries two OSU & UO basketball games this season. The first aired on Sunday, January 6th on Fox College Sports, available in the Bronze Sports tier from BendBroadband. The second is UO v. Cal, which airs on February 2 at 1:30pm. We are currently researching whether or not this game is going to be aired on an alternative network.