Conflicting reports have surfaced regarding the Portland Trail Blazers' next television deal. Geoff Baker of the Seattle Times suggests that a move from Comcast Sports Northwest to ROOT Sports Northwest is imminent and that the change will be announced in the coming weeks.
Calabro agrees his style will be a lot more "creative" and "expressive" on the RSN, where announcers aren’t expected to be as neutral. Right now, the question is which RSN he’ll be working for after next season, though industry sources tell me it won’t be the team’s current Comcast SportsNet Northwest partner.
The Blazers’ problematic 10-year, $120-million deal with Comcast expires after 2016-17. Sources say the team will announce within a week or two they’ll join Mariners-owned ROOT Sports Northwest on a partnership with enhanced distribution of Blazers games.
The attractive part of ROOT Sports, which the Mariners own 71 percent of, is that DirecTV is a 29 percent minority partner. DirecTV uses a satellite-based distribution system blanketing a multi-state territory that includes Oregon and Washington.
However, local media have responded with claims that this news is premature. If the Blazers are planning to move on from CSNNW, they have not yet tipped their hand. Still, according to Joe Freeman of The Oregonian, they have just three days to decide how to play their cards.
Asked around a bit this morning, hearing nothing is close to being decided regarding the Blazers TV contract. Could go any number of ways.— Casey Holdahl (@CHold) June 27, 2016
Blazers President Chris McGowan says reports suggesting the Blazers have settled on ROOT Sports to be new TV partner are "untrue."— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) June 27, 2016
That said, the Blazers are running out of time to decide their next TV partner: The deadline is June 30.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) June 27, 2016
Regarding speculation about Blazers' new tv deal: Team sources insist negotiations remain "wide open." Comcast, ROOT, Fox still in play.— Joe Freeman (@BlazerFreeman) June 27, 2016
At least ostensibly, the Blazers are yet undecided on their new (or old) partner. Whichever company they choose, the deal will not come into effect until their current contract with CSNNW runs out at the end of the 2016-17 NBA season.