What is the Latest Regional Sports Network Update for Pittsburgh?

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Remember, right before the Pittsburgh Pirates' season started, we were all warned that we may not be able to watch the games on AT&T SportsNet anymore?  And that the Pittsburgh Penguins would also have their TV rights handed back to them with no home for their telecasts?  What happened with that?

So Warner Bros. Discovery, the owner of several regional sports networks (RSNs), including AT&T SportsNet, are still fully committed to getting out of the RSN game.  It is all but certain that AT&T SportsNet will cease to exist.  The Pirates are well passed the set deadline for finding a new broadcast home, however, it has been reported this Pirate season will most likely be broadcasted in its entirety on AT&T SportsNet.  It is the understanding right now that following this season, the team will receive their television rights back and will need to shop them elsewhere.

So what does this mean for the Pirates?  Well, it's complicated.  If Major League Baseball overall sees these RSNs like AT&T and Bally's pulling out of the broadcasting game, then they may need to nationalize their product.  They could sell all of the rights to streaming services, like the MLS did, or broadcast games more regularly on the MLB Network.  They could also sell their rights to cable networks like CBS, Fox, or ESPN and reap the benefits that the NFL has for years.  

The route the MLS took with streaming services was explained in a blog linked here: Could MLB Follow MLS and Put Games Behind a Paywall?

Of course the centralization of these teams' rights league-wide would mean more revenue sharing and maybe we'd finally see equity among team payrolls in baseball.  It's a lofty expectation as teams like Boston or New York will not want to give up such lucrative television rights of their teams that get way more eye balls than smaller markets like the Pirates.  If there isn't a centralized deal made, the Pirates may just end up in another lousy TV contract, making far less than a lot of the teams in the league.

As far as the Penguins, their season is essentially over so they will not have to worry about their deal until next season.  Their season ended last night when the New York Islanders beat the Montreal Canadiens to secure the final Wild Card spot in the Eastern Conference.  The longest postseason streak in North American sports was ended, on 412 Day no less.  

Speaking of the Boston Red Sox, the Penguins could turn to NESN for their television rights in the future.  NESN, the New England Sports Network is owned by Fenway Sports Group who just purchased a majority stake in the Penguins before this season started.  

As much as we all hate to see our Pittsburgh teams associated with New England, this move does probably make the most sense.  I see this as the most likely route the Penguins take given their ownership connections to the network.  This would just swap our RSN from AT&T to NESN and the regional sports fee we all hate paying will just go toward that network instead.  In this case, it's a minimal change. 

Those are the updates we have for now and we'll let you know as we learn more about this ongoing situation.