Pirates extend local rights deal with AT&T SportsNet

Major League Baseball’s Pittsburgh Pirates have signed a multi-year extension of their local TV rights deal with AT&T SportsNet, the second such team to do so with the network in the past week.

Joining a prior deal with the Colorado Rockies, the Pirates will remain with AT&T SportsNet “for years to come,” though specific years and dollars were not disclosed. 

The Pirates’ prior 10-year contract with AT&T SportsNet had expires following the 2019 season. The new deal will keep the network as the Pirates’ regional TV home with at least 150 live games per season, as well as pre- and post-game coverage and other team-related programming.

“It was critically important for us to continue to increase the reach and penetration of Pirates baseball throughout our region,” said Frank Coonelly, Pirates president. It was equally essentially that we enhance the coverage of Pirates baseball by now ensuring that all 162 games [each season] will be telecast either by AT&T SportsNet or one our national television partners and that nearly all of our home Spring Training games will now be broadcast on AT&T SportsNet.”

It has been rumored, though not publicly confirmed, that the quartet of AT&T SportsNet regional sports networks are for sale, and locking down key programming such as the Rockies and Pirates on a long-term basis does enhance the value of those channels. Chris Ripley, Sinclair Broadcast Group president and chief executive, has openly expressed his interest in buying them if they become available.