Arizona Coyotes local games move to broadcast networks – the latest big shift in sports TV

The Arizona Coyotes, an NHL team, are shifting their local game broadcasts to a new TV home on over-the-air networks, marking a transition from cable TV. This move highlights the impact of cord-cutting on cable TV bundles and the increasing interest of broadcast stations in securing sports media rights.

The Coyotes have secured a multi-year deal with E.W. Scripps Co., a broadcast station owner, to air their local games. This change was prompted by Diamond Sports Group, the largest owner of regional sports networks, rejecting its contract with the Coyotes due to being under bankruptcy protection.

As part of the transition, a streaming option for fans will soon be made available, as announced by Scripps and the Coyotes. Previously, the Coyotes’ local games were aired on Bally Sports Arizona. However, other professional teams that were also broadcasted on this network, such as MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, had already moved to new TV homes for local games after Diamond’s contract rejections.

Specific terms of the deal between the Coyotes and Scripps have not been disclosed. By rejecting the Coyotes’ contract, Diamond effectively rendered Bally Sports Arizona defunct, stating that the network was deemed unprofitable, which led to the rejection of contracts with other teams as well. Other sports teams like the Suns and Mercury had already reached similar deals with broadcast station owners, aiming to provide direct-to-consumer streaming options. MLB had also taken over the distribution of the Diamondbacks and the San Diego Padres, whose contracts were rejected by Diamond earlier in the year.