According to a report from the Sports Business Journal, Fenway Sports Group, the majority owner of the Pittsburgh Penguins, will take over AT&T SportsNet Pittsburgh from Warner Bros. Discovery Sports.
Fenway Sports Group, of course, is also the owner of MLB’s Boston Red Sox amongst other professional organizations and subsidiaries. The deal is expected to close in the next couple weeks.
With the deal in place, the Pittsburgh Pirates now have options as to what what their next steps will be regarding their rights.
One option is for the Pirates is to send their rights to Major League Baseball. Both the San Diego Padres and Arizona Diamondbacks did just that this season after the Diamond Sports Group went bankrupt earlier in the year.
If the Pirates chose this option, the league would handle the production, find the cable and satellite distribution and pay the team roughly 80% of the current rights fee.
According to John Ourand, the Pirates are also still considering cutting a deal with Fenway Sports Group to remain a regional sports network alongside the Penguins, though the previous option appears more likely at this time.
The Pirates, nor MLB, feel pressure to get a deal done since the the developing situation will not affect the Pirates’ regular season in 2023.
Warner Bros. Discovery Sports is a little more than a month away from withdrawing from the majority of their regional sports network business.