Scripps Inks Multiyear Deal to Air Vegas Golden Knights NHL Games
Scripps will air Golden Knights games on its local station KMCC-TV
LAS VEGAS and CINCINNATI—Scripps continues to expand its rights to air local sports with a new multi-year agreement to air the Vegas Golden Knights NHL hockey games for free to residents of Nevada and surrounding states within the team’s broadcast territory.
The agreement, which begins with the 2023-34 season, allows The E.W. Scripps Company to televise all non-nationally exclusive Golden Knights games with full distribution on cable, satellite and over-the-air television.
Financial terms are not disclosed. The deal has obtained the necessary approvals from the National Hockey League.
Scripps will air Golden Knights games on its local station KMCC-TV, which is currently airing programming from ION, Scripps’ national entertainment network.
ION programming will continue to be available to Nevadans over-the-air, on pay TV and on connected TV platforms through a move to another Las Vegas broadcast channel, Scripps said.
Scripps said that it plans to rebrand KMCC, channel 34, as an independent station before the 2023-24 NHL season begins. In addition to the Golden Knights games, the new KMCC will broadcast local and national news, local sports and additional entertainment programming.
Scripps also owns the Las Vegas ABC affiliate, KTNV, which will provide a strong marketing platform for KMCC and the Golden Knights telecasts and has carried VGK preseason games since the franchise’s inaugural season of 2017-18.
“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,” team president and CEO Kerry Bubolz said. “That was our goal in finding a new TV partner. We wanted to serve our fanbase in the best way possible.”
The Golden Knights and Scripps also said that they are committed to providing fans with a direct-to-consumer streaming option as part of this partnership. Details on the streaming option will be announced when plans are finalized, the companies said.
The deal provides another example of the ongoing turmoil in the regional sports business, which led to Sinclair Broadcast’s Diamond Sports Group to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier this year, citing $9 billion in debt spread across its 19 Bally Sports regional sports networks.
Warner Bros. Discovery, which had carried Golden Knights games on AT&T SportsNet since 2017, has said it is leaving the regionals sports network business.
In the wake of those problems, other broadcasters like Gray Television and Scripps have been looking to expand their sports offerings.
The Vegas Golden Knights broadcasters, led by the multi-Emmy Award winning duo of Dave Goucher and Shane Hnidy, will remain on the call for Scripps Sports’ games.
Broadcasts will include pregame and postgame coverage for every game, with additional distribution into Idaho (Boise, Idaho Falls and Twin Falls), Montana (Billings, Butte-Bozeman, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena and Missoula), Nevada (Reno), Utah (Salt Lake City) and Wyoming (Casper-Riverton and Cheyenne-Scottsbluff).
“We have been impressed by the Golden Knights’ commitment to winning and their desire to connect and engage with fans in Vegas and outer markets, as well,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Scripps Sports. “This is going to be a wonderful partnership, and it’s the fans who will benefit most. We launched Scripps Sports with the belief that we could help teams reach more fans through our stations, which do not depend on subscriptions and added fees for the consumer.”
The Golden Knights are the first professional sports team to reach a deal with Scripps Sports, which launched in December. It is the second deal Scripps has announced in the past 15 days. The first was an agreement with the WNBA, announced April 20, to televise games on ION on Friday nights during the regular season starting May 26.
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George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.