In advance of the impending demise of the AT&T SportsNet RSNs, the Vegas Golden Knights have inked a multiyear distribution deal with Scripps Sports.
The new broadcast arrangement will make the NHL franchise’s games available to fans in the local market via Scripps’ KMCC-34, which currently carries ION programming. It will be rebranded before the start of the 2023-24 hockey season.
Scripps also owns KTNV-13, Vegas’ ABC affiliate, and while the Golden Knights won’t be carried by that channel, the company will leverage the station’s reach as a means to market the team’s KMCC telecasts. Beyond the Vegas market, which encompasses the entire southeastern wedge of Nevada and is home to 870,240 TV households, Scripps will also carry the games in the adjacent Reno DMA (306,940 HHs) as well as select areas in Idaho, Montana, Utah and Wyoming.
Financial terms were not disclosed. A direct-to-consumer service will complement the Knights’ linear-TV distribution.
The Knights’ games had been carried on AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountain, which like the other Warner Bros. Discovery RSNs, is in the process of being shut down. The parent company in February announced that it will discontinue its regional sports unit, a move that has left 10 NHL, NBA and MLB clubs scrambling to land replacement TV deals. The teams impacted by WBD’s reversal include the Houston Astros, Pittsburgh Penguins and Utah Jazz.
The Knights’ deal is the second major sports-rights acquisition for Scripps in the last two weeks, following on the heels of the company’s new distribution pact with the WNBA.
“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,” Knights president and CEO Kerry Bubolz said, by way of announcing the agreement. “That was our goal in finding a new TV partner. We wanted to serve our fan base in the best way possible.”
While WBD had intended to shutter its RSN business by March 31, the company has pushed back the hands on the doomsday clock. The WBD brass and MLB higher-ups are negotiating a deal to keep the baseball distribution deals operational through the end of the 2023 season, which should give the Pittsburgh Pirates and Colorado Rockies more breathing room to link up with new media partners. In the meantime, the Astros and Rockets are looking to assume control of their longtime RSN, AT&T SportsNet Houston.