Wednesday September 27, 2023

Vegas Golden Knights Ditch Cable for Free Broadcast TV

  • Second big deal for new Scripps Sports.
  • Another local over-the-air channel picks up sports rights.
Vegas Golden Knights
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
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Remember old-fashioned, over-the-air broadcast television? Sports teams struggling with crumbling cable TV partners certainly do.

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed a multi-year deal with Scripps Sports to air their games for free in Nevada and four surrounding states. 

The agreement will kick in with the start of the NHL’s 2023-2024 season. It will also include a direct-to-consumer option.

“This deal is a significant win for our fans because they will be able to see our games on television and for free, if they wish,” said Golden Knights president and chief executive officer Kerry Bubolz in a statement. “That was our goal in finding a new TV partner. We wanted to serve our fanbase in the best way possible.”

The games will center around Golden Knights telecasts not in the national TV windows controlled by The Walt Disney Co.’s ESPN and Warner Bros. Discovery Sports TNT/TBS. 

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It’s the first deal between Scripps Sports (which launched in December) and a pro sports franchise. 

A few weeks ago, Scripps inked a deal with the WNBA to air Friday night games on its ION during the women’s basketball league’s new season starting May 26.

The hockey games will air on Scripps’ local KMCC-TV station. Besides the Golden Knights’ home market in Nevada, they will be carried in Idaho, Montana, Nevada, Utah, and Wyoming. 

The games were previously carried by AT&T SportsNet, a Warner Bros. Discovery Sports unit that’s exiting the RSN business. 

Last week, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury also ditched cable TV for free over-the-air TV.

The two basketball franchises signed with Gray Television to broadcast their games to 2.8 million households.

The team’s previous media partner, Bally Sports Arizona, was unhappy with the deal. The network’s bankrupt parent company Diamond Sports, said the teams’ breached their contract.

“This is an improper effort by the Suns to change their broadcasting partner without permitting Diamond to exercise our contractual rights,” Diamond said.

Before the next NHL season starts, Scripps will rebrand KMCC as an independent station.

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