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The Coyotes announced a four-year deal with Scripps Sports on Thursday to air free games on television to the Arizona and Utah markets.
Broadcasts will include pre-game and postgame coverage for every game. Scripps stations also will broadcast all Coyotes games in Tucson (on KGUN 9.2; Cox channel 85, and Comcast channel 1179) and Salt Lake City (games will alternate between KUPX Utah 16 and KSTU 13.2 Antenna TV).
The deal ends speculation about whether the team would be able to continue its existing deal with financially troubled Bally Sports Arizona; a deal that PHNX has consistently reported would not continue. The team had been in negotiations with multiple outlets before this deal was struck.
The announcement comes shortly after the Coyotes also announced a one-year extension of their radio broadcast rights with 98.7 FM, Arizona Sports.
PHNX Sports caught up with Coyotes owner Alex Meruelo for a quick Q&A on the deal, whose financial terms were not disclosed. Here are Meruelo’s written responses to our questions.
Do you think free TV is a good way to get the Coyotes in front of more viewers and grow your brand?
“We are excited to be able to reach the entire Valley over the air with this new partnership. Having our games on the Scripps Sports network will not only increase three times the amount of households that can watch the Coyotes, but also open up Utah and New Mexico as new territories to grow our fanbase. It’s important for us to be able to expand our reach at this time when there is so much transition in the media landscape. This is an innovative approach to engage our fans and fans in waiting, and we are very excited to partner with Scripps which has an incredible operation in Phoenix, Tucson, and beyond.”
Can you provide any insight into how this deal came about with Scripps?
“We really wanted to find a solution that was free to our fans and would allow us to reach as many people as possible within our TV rights territory. Scripps has incredible coverage across the Valley and we cannot express how excited we are to be partnering with them. Their sales and marketing operations are second to none, and they are fully committed to leveraging their entire platform of outlets to help promote viewership and fan engagement across the Valley.”
Was there any attempt to save your partnership with Bally Sports Arizona?
“As you know, there is a lot of transition happening with Bally’s and Diamond Sports. We quickly realized that a partnership with Scripps was the best thing for our fans and for our organization.”
In terms of accessibility with Scripps, will there be a way to watch games on a mobile device/through an app? Will the games be available on DirecTV or DISH Network? Also, will the games be available on any streaming services such as Hulu, FuboTV, YouTube TV, etc.?
“We will be launching a DTC (direct to consumer) platform for our fans to be able to stream our games across devices. More to come on that soon.”
Who will be the broadcast team for play-by-play and color analysis?
“We will be bringing on our former Bally’s crew with Todd Walsh, Jody Jackson, and Tyson Nash and Matt McConnell will be back. They are the best in the business!”
How does this deal set you up for the future to make the Coyotes brand more prominent in the Valley?
“We believe this couldn’t have worked out better for us. We had a tremendous offseason building a competitive team with high-end talent that will pull you out of your seat, and we will be playing meaningful games this year as we continue to build a Stanley Cup winner. It is extremely important for us to be able to touch all the households in the Phoenix and Tucson markets and reach all those fans in waiting. Everyone will be seeing a lot more of the Coyotes and we can’t wait for this season to start.”
Top photo of Alex Meruelo via Getty Images
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