Before the start of the season, the Arizona Coyotes were one of the many teams who had major uncertainty about their game broadcasts. Bally Sports' parent company, Diamond Sports Group, filed for bankruptcy and disrupted the sports landscape. Confusion and concern about broadcasts abounded, and teams began scrambling to find new partners.
In a move that could be described as surprising or shocking, the Arizona Coyotes announced a four-year partnership with Scripps Sports to televise their games through over-the-air broadcasts. In the streaming era, this move can be considered a throwback as well as unusual. For context, only one other team in the NHL uses an over-the-air broadcast, the Vegas Golden Knights (Per the AP Press, via ESPN).
The early results have come in, and they indicate that the Coyotes knocked this deal out of the park. Per Alec Cipollini of Burn City Sports, Scripps Third Quarter Earnings Call noted that in Phoenix, the Coyotes' ratings have increased 900% when compared to the previous year. That's insane, and welcomed news for a franchise starving for new fans. That increase also doesn't include the homes reached in the rest of the state, or Utah, where games are also broadcast.
The biggest drawback a detractor could point to is that an over-the-air broadcast deal is less lucrative than a streaming or RSN (regional sports network) deal. It's also no secret that the Coyotes have had serious financial struggles in the past. However, this team needs to reach a broad audience and over-the-air is by far the best method compared to the dying RSN model or trying to find a streaming partner where fans would be forced to buy yet another subscription. The best thing this franchise can do while still searching for a permanent home is to grow the fan base, and they have certainly gotten on the right track with this deal.