Connect with us
Jim Cutler Demos

Sports TV News

Phoenix Suns, Mercury Officially Partner with Gray Television

“Now, this deal gives more than 2.8 million homes across Arizona access to Suns and Mercury games for free.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Suns-Mercury Arizonas Family
Courtesy: Arizona's Family; Phoenix Suns; Phoenix Mercury

The Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury will now be broadcast on local television stations, marking a deviation from the standard regional sports network model. Owner Mat Ishbia announced that the NBA and WNBA franchises will air on Arizona’s Family television stations KTVK (Arizona’s Family TV) and the new KPHE (Arizona’s Family Sports Network), owned by Gray Television. Both teams had been broadcast on Bally Sports Arizona, but making the move to work with Gray Television will make the games available to consumers across the state – nearly tripling the teams’ previous reach.

“I am excited to be able to deliver to our Suns and Mercury fans this industry-shifting partnership with Gray Television,” Ishbia said in a statement. “We’ve had an incredible offseason, making a lot of exciting moves to build the championship-caliber Suns team our fans want. Now, this deal gives more than 2.8 million homes across Arizona access to Suns and Mercury games for free. I am proud that we are at the forefront of this shift to make the game more accessible, which not only serves our fan base but also helps to build future NBA and WNBA fans.”

Mercury basketball games have been televised on Gray networks since the start of the WNBA season, which has currently reached its All-Star break. A bankruptcy court previously voided the television deal after Diamond Sports Group decided to take legal action against the organization. The company previously argued that the departure of the Suns and Mercury would complicate its reorganization under Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which it filed for this past March.

Diamond Sports Group was given an opportunity to match the Gray Television, but ended up neglecting to do so. As a result, the Suns become the second team in the NBA to ink this type of local broadcast television deal, joining the Utah Jazz.

“We’re thrilled this partnership will connect our loyal family of viewers with the Phoenix Suns and Mercury,” Pat LaPlatney, president and co-chief executive officer of Gray Television, said in a statement. “In a very short window, Mat Ishbia has begun to build a world-class organization both on and off the court. Mat and Josh Bartelstein have made good on their promise to focus on the community and put their fans first. We are very pleased to play a part in that effort with our Phoenix, Tucson, and ultimately our Yuma stations.”

Matchups for both teams will now be available on broadcast television and through various streaming platforms, including the Phoenix Suns website and mobile app. The first two games of the Suns’ 2023-24 regular season will be broadcast by ESPN, as there is much intrigue surrounding the new star trio of Devin Booker, Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Sports TV News

FOX Sports Moving UFL Games to Friday Nights in 2025

“The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year.”

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

The United Football League logo

FOX Sports CEO Eric Shanks recently confirmed a report from Deadline last month that said United Football League games would move to Friday nights in 2025. The Deadline report had said FOX planned to replace WWE Smackdown with sports coverage from college football and basketball as well as games from the UFL.

Shanks’ comments were made during a Zoom with reporters about the news of their new agreement with the NTT IndyCar Series. SI’s Mike Mitchell reported that the UFL worked with FOX to move the games so they could complete their auto racing deal.

Shanks said many of FOX’s UFL games would be moved to Friday night when asked about the change but did not provide more detail.

The UFL was split between FOX and ABC/ESPN this season. The regular season average television audience of 816,000 was more than 30% higher than the pace from the previous year and the recent conference championship games were up 57% over the averages from the USFL and XFL last season. According to Mitchell, the league saw a large increase in the 18-49 demographic on FOX compared to USFL programming in 2023.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

Report: WNBA Could Quadruple Media Rights Fees

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion.

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

WNBA Logo
(Illustration) | Courtesy: Women's National Basketball Association

The NBA is reportedly in the process of formalizing new media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal and Amazon’s Prime Video expected to be worth a collective $76 billion over the course of the deal. At the same time, the NBA is also negotiating media rights for the WNBA in which it has an ownership stake of approximately 60%. The WNBA could quadruple its annual media rights fee within these negotiations, according to a new report from Michael McCarthy of Front Office Sports.

Under the current structure, the WNBA makes a reported $60 million annually from its media rights deals with The Walt Disney Company, Amazon’s Prime Video, CBS and Ion. Throughout the season thus far, the WNBA has seen its ratings increase, drawing more than 1 million viewers across several matchups throughout the regular season. Moreover, discussion surrounding the league is further assimilating into the sports vernacular surrounding stars such as Caitlin Clark, A’ja Wilson, Sabrina Ionescu and Breanna Stewart.

Ben Strauss of The Washington Post outlined how the NBA is in the process of considering one total bid from media companies that combines the value of media rights for the NBA and WNBA. With the league itself determining the value of media rights for the WNBA, he argues that it could either be “rocket fuel” for the league or that its augmented popularity “is more of an afterthought.” The possibility exists that it could be a combination of both extremes as well, but by having the league negotiate its media rights deal, quantifying the true value could be a more difficult task.

In a report from earlier in the year, McCarthy stated that the WNBA is likely to negotiate its own separate media rights deal if it is not receiving the remuneration that it wants. The WNBA attained its most-watched opening month in league history, averaging 1.32 million viewers for games across ABC, ESPN, ESPN2, CBS, Ion and NBA TV. Moreover, the league had its most-attended opening month in its 26-year history with 400,000 fans at games through the end of May and a rise in sales of WNBA-branded merchandise by 236% year-over-year.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading

Sports TV News

NBA Finals Game 3 Up 2% on ABC and ESPN

Barrett Sports Media

Published

on

Graphic for the NBA Finals

Game 3 of the NBA Finals series which saw Boston take a three games to none lead in the series was up 2% from last year’s Game 3. The game averaged 11,426,000 viewers and peaked at 13,926,000 at 10:45 p.m. ET.

The game was the top draw in all of television for the night and took the top spot in all of the key demographics. So far through three games, the series is even with the television numbers from 2023.

NBA Countdown, the show which airs right before the game begins, was also up two percent compared to the same show a year ago. NBA Countdown averaged 4,330,000 viewers. Through three games, the show is up five percent from last season’s pregame shows.

The Celtics will look to secure their 18th NBA Championship when the two teams meet again for Game 4 tonight at 8:30 ET. If a Game 5 is necessary, it would be played on Monday, June 17.

Sign up for the BSM 8@8

The Top 8 Sports Media Stories of the Day, sent directly to your inbox, every morning at 8am ET.

Invalid email address
We promise not to spam you. You can unsubscribe at any time.
Continue Reading
Advertisement

Advertisement

Upcoming Events

Barrett Media Writers

Copyright © 2024 Barrett Media.