I was surprised yesterday when I discovered the telecast branded as coming from Root Sports, rather than FSN Pittsburgh, last year’s network. A little Internet research led to the conclusion that only the name had been changed, though ownership of the sports network had been transferred somewhere along the line. (See, for example, this post on a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette blog.)
It was not intuitively obvious what the significance of “Root” was, and the press release from the Root Sports Facebook page proved something of a red herring:
“The unique distinction of each of the three regional sports networks [including the former FSN Pittsburgh] is that they can speak with the voice of the fan from a local, insider perspective and provide the opportunity to be part of something bigger,” said Geoff Walker, Vice President of Marketing for DIRECTV Sports Networks. “This approach creates an authentic product that is rooted and connected in the community, invested in its people and committed to providing the highest quality shared experience for its teams and their fans. This is the personality and attitude of ROOT Sports.”Did the name of the re-branded network somehow come from the idea of being “rooted and connected in the community”? That seemed a stretch, and my assumption that “Root” was a noun left me without a good theory of what the name was supposed to mean.
Near the end of today’s game, however, the network ran a spot that seemed to clear up the matter. “Root,” apparently, is a verb, as in “root, root, root for the home team.” Who knew? The name is reasonable, I suppose, but I question whether Root Sports is such a great name if it takes so long to realize that it isn’t nonsensical.
No doubt, the long-suffering Pittsburgh Pirate fans will get used to it.