If the market for the Las Vegas NHL expansion team’s game broadcasts starts off cool, a Major League Baseball club could help warm up any potential bidding.
As Sports Business Journal’s John Ourand writes, cable providers are moving toward a model that will offer consumers smaller channel bundles that won’t include pricey sports packages. Thus, any regional sports network that the new Vegas NHL team might create wouldn’t provide much value with only hockey games on its broadcast schedule. Making things more problematic is that warm-weather NHL teams typically don’t draw big TV ratings.
So what is a fledgling NHL expansion club to do in boosting the market and possibly create a bidding war for its TV rights package? According to a media consultant Ourand spoke with, add a baseball team to the deal.
In baseball’s warped TV landscape, six MLB teams claim the Las Vegas market right now. The Los Angeles Dodgers, San Francisco Giants, Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Angels, San Diego Padres, and Oakland Athletics all stake a claim to the territory, and the networks that broadcast those respective teams’ games might be interested in pairing up with the Las Vegas NHL team to gain a foothold in that market.
For instance, if Charter — which now owns the Dodgers’ SportsNet LA channel after buying Time Warner Cable — wants to get make headway into the market, what better way than to pair up with the NHL team and broadcast Dodgers games in the market. A team with the name recognition of the Dodgers might be ideally suited for such a partnership.
However, Fox Sports, which runs the regional sports networks for the Angels, D-Backs, and Padres, may have the upper hand, having previously broadcasted Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks games in the Vegas market. Root Sports has also carried sports packages in the market previously.
The Angels have sort of a Vegas feel to their name, perhaps. Imagine the potential shows and presentations. The Dodgers bring a bit more glitz. But the D-Backs are fellow desert denizens. Which of the six MLB teams currently claiming Vegas as their market would be the best fit to pair with the new NHL team? Which do fans in the market tend to gravitate toward, if any? Of course, it will ultimately come down to money, which has a way of creating a fit, whether ideal or not.