ROOT SPORTS Northwest will delay live Portland Trail Blazers coverage in most of Washington and Alaska when games will conflict with the Seattle Kraken, unless the cable provider offers a second ROOT channel. The preempted games will typically air later that night on replay. The first example of this event will be on October 31st, when the Blazers’ 4:00pm game against the Charlotte Hornets will not air until 10:00 pm in affected regions.
There is no public list of cable providers who will offer the channel, named ROOT Plus. When reached for comment, a ROOT representative said they are “working diligently on setting up alternate channels wherever possible.”
[Note: Comcast added Root Sports Northwest Plus to their lineup in time for the October 31s game. It’s typically on channel 1253.]
This conflict will not affect Portland’s fans in Oregon, where Blazers coverage will be prioritized and the Kraken will be replayed later if no secondary channel is available.
This will be a significant change for viewers outside of Oregon, however. Previously, watching the Blazers was a simple process: If your provider carried NBC Sports Northwest, you could watch the game live. That’s no longer automatically guaranteed with ROOT.
After ROOT gained the rights to the Blazers and Kraken, they negotiated deals with some cable providers to carry the additional programming (listed here). The uncertain status for ROOT Plus adds another twist: Viewers must now confirm that their cable company not only carries ROOT, and has agreed to show Blazers programming, but if they are outside Oregon, they also must confirm how to watch on nights where games conflict with the Kraken.
The Blazer’s Edge guide to your viewing options for this season is available here.
This is the Blazers’ second stint with Seattle-based ROOT. Under their previous name of Fox Sports Net Northwest, they broadcast the Blazers in the mid-2000’s prior to Portland’s move to Comcast. The Seattle Mariners own the majority stake of ROOT, with a minority stake owned by DirecTV (currently being spun off from AT&T). ROOT controls the broadcast rights to most games from the Blazers, Kraken, and Mariners.