Root Sports returns to GCI, bringing Mariners baseball with it

Beth Bragg

The Seattle Mariners are coming back to Alaska.

GCI and Root Sports have reached a multi-year agreement that puts the network that carries Mariners baseball back in the lineup of the state's biggest cable provider.

GCI's David Morris said the addition of Root Sports will come at no extra cost to GCI customers. The company dropped Root last spring because it said keeping the network would have meant a rate increase for GCI customers.

"The most I can say is it was a long negotiation process and we've agreed mutually for a relatively long contract," Morris said Thursday.

Root returns to GCI on March 1. Mariners coverage will begin March 4 with the first of six preseason games.

The network will show all 159 regular-season Mariners game, beginning with the April 1 season opener against the Oakland A's.

Root waged a high-profile ad campaign when it was dropped by GCI last spring. It urged sports fans to register their displeasure with the loss of the network.

"Certainly we took note of it," Morris said. "Also, we didn't discontinue carriage last year lightly."

Besides the Mariners, Root Sports provides pregame and postgame coverage of the Seattle Seahawks, game coverage of the Seattle Sounders soccer team and a variety of college football and college basketball games.

Occasionally it covers games in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, which could mean UAA and UAF fans may be able to see their teams play on cable.

"It would be nice if we were to get an opportunity for Alaska fans to see us," said UAA sports information director Nate Sagan.

Root Sports will air on channel 36 (channel 713 for high-definition).

Reach Beth Bragg at or 257-4335.