Suns Cut Ties with Bally Sports, Make Move to Free TV

In a move that is likely to be the first of many for NBA teams ahead of next season, the Suns and WNBA’s Mercury will not renew their contract with Bally Sports regional network and will instead move their games to free television, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN.Mat Ishbia

Suns games have been available on Bally Sports, previously Fox Sports Arizona, since 2003. The franchises confirmed the moves in a press release.

Games next season will be carried under the Gray Television umbrella, consisting of KTVK (Arizona’s Family 3TV), KPHO (Arizona’s Family CBS5) and the statewide KPHE (AZ Family Sports Network). So both Suns and Mercury games will be available on local, non-cable channels in Phoenix, Tucson and Yuma. The new deal also includes Kiswe, an interactive video company.

Diamond Sports, which owns Bally Sports regional networks, has accused the Suns and Mercury of breach of contract.

“The Phoenix Suns breached our contract and violated bankruptcy law, and Diamond Sports Group will pursue all remedies against any parties that attempt to exercise control over our property interests while we reorganize,” Diamond Sports said in a statement. “This is an improper effort by the Suns to change their broadcasting partner without permitting Diamond to exercise our contractual rights.”

The Gray Television deal is reportedly five years for the Suns and two for the Mercury.

“I’ve said from day one that our focus is our fans, our community, and every member of our organization and this deal checks every box,” Suns and Mercury owner Mat Ishbia said in a release.

“By going entirely over the air and building our own DTC (direct-to-cunsumer) product, the Suns and Mercury will now be accessible to millions more fans in Arizona and globally. Success comes from new and innovative ways to invest in our players, continue our mission to build a world-class organization on and off the floor and make our product available to as many people as possible.”

Ishbia became majority owner of the Suns earlier in the season.

The Suns open their Western Conference semifinal series on the road against the Nuggets on Saturday.

Looking for the latest NBA Insider News & Rumors?

Be sure to follow Hoops Wire on TWITTER and FACEBOOK for breaking NBA News and Rumors for all 30 teams!

Leave a Reply