At The Root Of A Name Change

It’s not quite Versus, but DirecTV Sports has selected a new name for its three regional sports network, Root Sports.

Just as the moniker for Comcast’s national sports service trades on the competitive nature of man vs. man, team vs. team, man vs. animal (think bull riding), DirecTV’s rebrand, which will officially manifest with the start of the 2011 Major League Baseball season, rings true because for many of us, sports is at the root of a major passion point.

It also makes a lot of sense because the names Fox Sports Net Northwest, FSN Rocky Mountain and FSN Pittsburgh, no longer apply. Several years back, News Corp. shed its ownership of the three RSNs, along with its then-39% interest in DirecTV and $550 million in cash for Liberty Media’s 19% voting interest in Rupert Murdoch’s media empire. Then with the completion of the split-off transaction from Liberty Media combining DirecTV Group and Liberty Entertainment, Inc., Liberty Sports was rebranded to DirecTV Sports Networks last year.

Mark Shuken, president and CEO of DirecTV Sports Networks, said the change was in research and development for more than 18 months.

I’m pretty sure Levar Burton and John Amos were not consulted relative to the property’s name change. And from what I’m told, the RSNs will not bear regional identifiers, such as Root Sports Pittsburgh. But perhaps these entries — I’m willing to waive all attendant naming fees for the purposes of clarity and pointing fans to the must-see aspects of the respective networks — might change Shuken’s sensibilities.

For DirecTV’s RSN serving the Pacific Northwest, I propose the Ichiro Network. In Pittsburgh, how about The Crosby Channel? In the Rocky Mountain region, it has to be Tulowitzki TV. And as for its sub regional known as FSN Utah: Sloan Service.