Trail Blazers, CSN Northwest In Talks To Extend Rights Deal; Distribution Could Be Key
Negotiations between the Trail Blazers and CSN Northwest have begun for a new TV deal, and "both sides say they are amicable," according to Kerry Eggers of the PORTLAND TRIBUNE. The team is in the ninth year of a 10-year, $120M contract with the RSN that ends after the '16-17 season. Finances are a "major part of any such agreement, but a sticking point could be distribution." CSN reached a deal with Charter in '13 that allowed Trail Blazers games to be "shown in many areas throughout the state outside the Portland metropolitan area." However, DirecTV and Dish are "not on board, a thorn in the side to many Blazers fans since CSN was founded nearly a decade ago." The team has "taken a heap of criticism" from its fans on the issue over the years. Trail Blazers President & CEO Chris McGowan said, "Distribution is super important to us. I don’t like the fact there are fans that can’t see our games. Unfortunately, I run a pro basketball team and don’t make distribution decisions." He said the team has been working with CSN Northwest "for a long period of time" and both sides would "like that to continue." Eggers noted Root Sports "would be a possible landing spot," as the net is distributed to 85% of the Northwest market and is "available on DirecTV and Dish." Root execs likely will "have a discussion with the Blazers at some point." Another possibility is Fox Sports, which "owns 21 RSNs, though not one in this market." CSN’s exclusive window to renew the Blazers' deal "extends into the summer," and McGowan would "like to have a deal with a carrier in place by then" (PORTLAND TRIBUNE, 3/24).