Local TV News: Panthers Re-Sign with FSN, Blues Go All-Cable, Could Sharks Make Strange Move?

The Florida Panthers only have 66 games on local television this season.  In our opinion, every club should have every game on the tube, but most franchises should aim to at least be at the 75-game level.  Well, the Panthers have re-upped their deal with FS Florida, and it looks as if they’ll be inching closer to that goal:

 Sunrise Sports & Entertainment announced today that FOX Sports Florida has signed a multi-year extension with the Florida Panthers as the official television rights holder for Panthers hockey. As part of the agreement, FOX Sports Florida will increase its number of regular season broadcasts to over 70 games in 2009-10 in addition to select playoff games.

As part of the partnership, the Panthers will take a lead role in sponsorship development for Panthers game coverage, as well as shoulder programming, on FOX Sports Florida. In addition, the hockey club will have the opportunity to develop additional Panthers programming with more details on this partnership to be announced in the coming months. 

At least it appears that TV situation for Florida is stable for the next few years.

Moving on, after the jump, we have news about the St. Louis Blues spurning broadcast TV and a bit of an odd story about what the Sharks may be doing with their regional TV set-up as soon as next season.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch was all over the Blues TV situation this weekend.  First of all, they show the Blues as having lower ratings than last season, at a 2.4 on The CW affiliate in St. Louis and a 1.4 on FSN Midwest, below a 2.9 and 2.1 respectively in 07-08.  This piece from Dan Caesar of the Dispatch has the Blues ratings for the past decade.

But Caesar also has this report, showing that the Blues are apparently leaving broadcast television for good:

All for some, none for all.

That’s the essence of the Blues’ new television deal, which takes effect next season. For the first time, every game will be televised — either in the local package or by a national network. But also for the first time the Blues will become the first major St. Louis sports team to eliminate “free TV” from its local package, as all those contests will be on cable/satellite’s Fox Sports Midwest probably beginning next season but at the most in two years.

KPLR (Channel 11) has aired Blues games for most of their history and continuously since the 1997-98 season and is carrying 21 this season. And while the new deal contains a provision that there could be some over-the-air telecasts, that is at the discretion of Fox Sports Midwest and seems unlikely.

The good news out of all of this is that St. Louis is making the move to air all 82 games on local TV for the first time in club history.  They also plan to have every game in HD by 2010-11.  But one must worry that they are giving up some distribution to gain five untelevised games (which is how many KPLR and FS Midwest aren’t airing this year).  

Meanwhile, in San Jose, MultiChannel News is reporting that Comcast Sportsnet Bay Area is planning some major changes, including building a new HD studio for four hours of live sports talk every night.  But the most interesting news in the story for puckheads in the Bay Area is that the Sharks might be following the Oakland A’s to a different, but similar, television home:

One of the topics will likely be the RSN’s decision to move the A’s games to sister service Comcast SportsNet California. That and the possibility of sending NHL Sharks games to that regional are key issues in a license-fee dispute the CSN Bay Area is engaged in with DirecTV.

I’m not certain how this improves life for the Sharks, or gives them a better shot at having more games on TV.  The story goes on saying the following:

As for the Sharks, Comcast SportsNet, according to Fitzpatrick, is currently in discussions with the team about shifting its contests to CSN California, whose principal attraction is the NBA’s Sacramento Kings. Should an accord be reached, the Sharks wouldn’t begin skating on the CSN California until the 2009-2010 NHL campaign. 

Either way, the Sharks are likely a third wheel, to the Giants and Warriors at Bay Area, or to the Athletics and Kings at CSN California.  The Sharks are resigned to a lesser status either way.

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One Response to Local TV News: Panthers Re-Sign with FSN, Blues Go All-Cable, Could Sharks Make Strange Move?

  1. Pingback: Sharks Increase Ratings on Move to New Network « Puck The Media

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