The New Orleans Pelicans are reportedly close to becoming the next NBA team to ditch Bally Sports for a local over-the-air solution.
As part of Diamond Sports Group’s bankruptcy agreement with the NBA, teams will have the opportunity to televise 10 games with an over-the-air broadcaster as they prepare for Bally to revert local television rights after the 2023-24 season. For the Pelicans, that station will be Fox 8, per The Times-Picayune.
The two sides must figure out a few technical issues and navigate Bally’s financial problems before a deal is solidified. If a deal comes to fruition, it likely won’t be until mid-to-late December.
A successful partnership between the Pels and Fox 8 would allow the team to consider over-the-air broadcasters when negotiating a new local rights deal this summer; The Time-Picayune notes that Bally Sports can only reach 700,000 households, while Fox 8 can reach 7 million.
New Orleans is just the most recent NBA franchise to consider alternatives in the fallout of DSG’s bankruptcy and the general collapse of regional sports networks.
As part of its deal with Gray Television, the Phoenix Suns are distributing free antennas so that fans can watch the team’s games over the air on one of Gray’s local channels; the Suns were previously shown on Bally Sports Arizona.