The NBA’s Phoenix Suns and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury have struck a deal with Gray Television for their games to be shown for free via local broadcast stations. The two teams have also struck a deal with Kiswe to be the streaming distributor to accommodate those without access to their local broadcast stations.
The move is the first to see sports teams moving away from the control of Diamond Sports Group and Bally Sports.
As a reminder, Bally Sports has been going through a turbulent time of late. Not that long after launching its own streaming subscription service, Bally Sports’ parent company Diamond Sports Group entered bankruptcy, leading to concerns over what would happen to the rights for the teams shown on Bally Sports’ networks.
In response to the ongoing situation, the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury have struck a deal with Gray Television “to bring every locally broadcast game to viewers for free in a statewide distribution model utilizing Gray’s Phoenix television stations KTVK (Arizona’s Family 3TV) and the newly launched KPHE (Arizona’s Family Sports & Entertainment Network).”
This is quite the landmark deal and one which will make it significantly easier for local residents to watch the Suns and Mercury without the need for a live TV subscription. According to Gray, the deal will make Suns and Mercury games available to nearly 2.8 million households, effectively “tripling the teams’ reach to fans who have been unable to access the games through its previous distribution arrangement with a non-broadcast regional sports network.”
In terms of the specifics, the new deal will result in all Suns and Mercury non-national exclusive games being broadcast between KTVK and KPHE. When it comes to the Suns, at least 40 regular season games will be shown on KTVK while the remaining will be available to watch on KPHE.
As for Mercury, KTVK will air 13 regular season games (and all available post-season games) while KPHE will air the remaining regular season games.
For those without access to their local station, it has been confirmed that the games can also be available to watch online through a new direct-to-consumer (DTC) streaming option powered by Kiswe. Essentially, there will be the option to watch by accessing a Suns or Mercury-branded app on a smartphone or Smart TV.
It currently remains to be seen how much this DTV option will cost, but it has been confirmed that the 2023 Phoenix Mercury season will stream for free via the DTC service.