Phoenix Coyotes on TV - No Deal, No Problem?

See, there are plenty of Coyotes on TV...no issues whatsoever. - Christian Petersen

Today, the Five For Howling crew had a lively email discussion regarding the TV contract (or current lack thereof) for the Phoenix Coyotes and what it meant for the franchise. It seemed like it was something that should be shared with the general public...so here are the highlights.

Update (10/1/13 12:30pm)

Per Brett Hansen from Fox Sports Arizona: "Starting Thursday, we will televise Phoenix Coyotes games while we continue to work out a long term rights agreement."

We'll just take it all in chronological order so that you can get a feel for how we interact on a (somewhat) daily basis (and when we aren't writing Pokemon theme song parodies)...

It all started when Managing Editor Emeritus Carl "Alpha" Putnam commented as follows:

There seem to be lots of questions on the TV situation. There is no TV deal in place yet. The team and Fox Sports Arizona are still in negotiations. I reached out to both sides this morning.  Nothing new to report from the Fox Sports Arizona end. Still waiting to hear back from the team, but I suspect they'll say the same.

With the new ownership group coming in, especially as late as they did, things like this shouldn't be a total surprise, but I get that to most fans they will be or they won't care as they just want to be sure they can see the games. My bet is a deal gets made before Thursday's opener.

Barbie:

What other TV options are out there?

Chris:

Brendan and I were talking about this at the preseason game.  He made a point that I think is actually good.  With no TV deal in place, the only way to see the opening night game is to go.  Keep the demand for tickets high for that game and then come to an 11th hour deal after it's a sellout.

I wonder if the new ownership group isn't also trying for a deal similar to the Suns in that they get some games broadcast on AZ3 or the CW station for higer profile matchups.  Imagine the numbers they could get for the first Kings home game if its on 3TV instead of FSAZ.

Ben:

As long as it's not aztv...

Jordan (replying primarily to Barbie, and Carl's original comments):

Not any good ones, really...which is why FSAZ can try and hold the team's feet to the fire on the issue.  In the past AZ3 carried a bunch of Coyotes games, but that was more than 3-4 years ago at this point.  If I had to guess, I'd think the sticking points are (1) issues concerning conflicts with the Suns, and (2) whether or not FSAZ will be exclusive partner (and, relatedly, if so, will they cover all 82 games)?


If I was the new ownership group, my biggest priorities that I'd be fighting for: (1) equal division of games on FSAZ+ between Suns and Coyotes on days of conflict; (2) exclusivity at a price with coverage for all 82 games guaranteed; (3) a dedicated weekly show to the Coyotes that would air throughout the week apart from Coyotes pre-game and post-game and "In My Words" specials.

The rest is all just a math problem in terms of revenue division.

Barbie (replying to Chris primarily):

Nasher told me he signed a multi year contract-for the first time ever-and that it's for like 70 plus games. He was offered "battle of the blades" and turned it down due to TV schedule. Plus the hair gel budget was too low.

Jaime:

Also, I have it on good authority that the Rangers game is already considered a sell out and their second home game already has 15K+ seats sold. TV issues surround Jordan's points more so than creating demand.

Alpha:

Yes, 3 and 61 used to carry some of the games back in the old days.

I'd love for the Plus channel to be evenly divided between the Suns and Yotes, but that isn't ever going to happen. I'm sure the new group is trying to squeeze everything out of a deal which at best will still be one of the worst in the league revenue wise.

Putting the games on TV helps create demand too. No way are they holding up a TV deal over fairly neglible ticket money. The negative press from no TV deal alone wouldn't be worth it.

Jordan:

I agree that they will never evenly divide the Suns and Yotes to Plus, but they can make it more than the 95-5% split that they are doing currently.


Personally, I think the issue is that the new ownership group is probably trying to squeeze as much out of the deal as possible right now, and I think that wasn't a great strategy. They should have jumped in for a one-year deal to make sure that all the games get broadcast and taken whatever split was on the table with a commitment to also cover the pre-season games. Get that done right away and then do everything in your power to make the TV ratings everything it can be for this season and renegotiate the deal for next year and beyond. This isn't a star player risking getting hurt without a long-term deal...Coyotes have literally nothing to lose by taking a less than ideal TV contract for just a single year and spending all year working on negotiating something much better long-term.



Alpha:

Good luck. I love the Yotes and hate the Suns, but it's a business and the Suns get ratings and the Yotes don't. The bottom line says Yotes are on the back of the bus.

Maybe. Unless you want to see what your revenue in certain areas is going to be long term as soon as possible. Personally, I'd only want a 1 or 2 year deal assuming I believed I could move the needle and therefore start to get better ratings.

Ben:

Does no one remember Aztv and watching the game through Barbara Walters vasoline filter?

Alpha:

Of course. Pat MacMahon, bad TV reruns, and all.

Jordan:

I certainly remember that the last time AZ3 had games they had no HD option...I'd assume that not broadcasting games in SD would fix the issue...they used the same crew otherwise.

Alpha:

Yeah it was basically an FSN production on  Channel 3.

Chris:

When do you guys anticipate an announcement of an agreement being reached?  How long can they really afford to wait on this, Tuesday, Wednesday?

Alpha:

They can afford to wait until Thursday.

We'll likely know before then.

Jordan:

They will be ready to broadcast already and making the plans to get it on the air.  I'd say they just need to announce by Thursday morning.

Also, this is the exact type of conversation that we should be having in the comments section of the site in order to allow readers to chime in...not that it's not more convenient when I get immediate notification that Carl is shooting down my thoughts or anything...

Alpha:

Lol. My job in life.

I'm sure the comments section would be better. [Tangent regarding social media and the overreactions of sports fans through Twitter and FB which is being generally omitted except for Chris' comment that we, as Coyotes fans need to start a support group.  "You're good enough, you're smart enough, and doggone it, people will play hockey here so let it go already!"]

Barbie:

"Deal or no deal"
This is kind of important to the two fans in Tucson! They're tweeting their worries...

Brendan:

They'll be fine, especially if they get the Stadium Series down there, which makes total sense.

Lurking Managing Editor Emeritus Emeritus Travis Hair:

if 3tv can get an HD feed that wouldn't be awful. And I could watch games on Gamecenter! Additionally people not having to even have cable to watch could be a plus. Downside: 3tv.

Alpha:

I only want games back on 3TV if they'll give away a pack of Marlboros during every telecast.


At this point the email went irretrievably on various tangents regarding state of the Flyers much to the chagrin of Jordan and his need to watch eight months of Ray Emery and Steve Mason in the net with Hal Gill possibly "patrolling" the blue line, hybrid icing, ESPN's predictions (Burnside's got the 'Yotes winning the Cup), and Oliver Ekman-Larsson's Norris candidacy/underwear designing.

Quite frankly those last few tangents should be their own posts, but it'll have to be for another day. Regardless, chime in below with your comments regarding the Coyotes TV deal related issues. All I know is that I can't wait to have McConnell, Nash, and Walsh back on the air.

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