Arizona Coyotes Oct 20, 2022; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; View of an Arizona Coyotes logo on a jersey worn by a member of the team during the third period at Bell Centre. Mandatory Credit: David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

One of the strangest parts of the ongoing Diamond Sports (parent of the Bally Sports regional sports networks) bankruptcies has come around the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes had their games broadcast locally on Bally Sports Arizona, alongside MLB’s Arizona Diamondbacks, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, and the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. But they’ve now become the last team to exit that network, signing a broadcast TV deal with Scripps Sports for over-the-air games on KNXV.2 (Antenna TV, the Phoenix ABC affiliate’s alternate channel).

This comes after the Suns and Mercury left in April for a broadcast deal with Gray Television and a streaming deal with Kiswe. Diamond initially sued to try and stop that move from the Suns, and saw success there at first, but the Mercury move was allowed. The Suns’ move was eventually allowed as well. Meanwhile, Diamond elected to turn the Diamondbacks’ rights back to them in July (after reports of the two sides trying to reach a reduced deal).

After the Diamondbacks left, the Coyotes said they would “continue to evaluate all of our options.” Then Thursday, Sportico reported that Diamond was trying to drop the Coyotes, just a week ahead of their regular season opener. (Which makes sense, as that would allow them to close Bally Sports Arizona, which didn’t seem worth it with just a NHL team.) But that report included that the Coyotes were willing to have that happen. And the reason why became clear Thursday afternoon as they announced a deal with Scripps Sports, which will see games air on Scripps-owned Phoenix local ABC affiliate KNXV‘s alternate channel. Here’s more on that from a release:

The Arizona Coyotes and Scripps Sports have formed a multi-year agreement to televise all locally broadcast Coyotes games over the air to residents of Arizona and surrounding states within the team’s broadcast territory.

The Coyotes and Diamond Sports Net Arizona on Wednesday agreed to end the Coyotes telecast rights agreement. The debtors in the Diamond Sports Group, LLC bankruptcy submitted a motion and proposed order to reject the Coyotes telecast rights agreement to the bankruptcy court.

“We are thrilled to partner with Scripps Sports and provide free Coyotes games to our fans,” said Coyotes Owner, Chairman & Governor Alex Meruelo. “This is a major win for us to be able to increase our reach and continue to grow the great game of hockey in the desert. We are committed to winning, committed to the Valley, and committed to doing what’s best for our incredibly loyal and passionate fanbase.”

This season, 81 of the 82 Coyotes games will be broadcast on Channel 15.2 (KNXV.2), the Antenna TV network, over the air (with an antenna). Antenna TV can also be found on channel 95 on COX.

…“Scripps Sports looks forward to working with the Arizona Coyotes to showcase their exciting young team,” said Brian Lawlor, president of Scripps Sports. “We believe the future of this team is bright, and we look forward to making the games available for all fans to enjoy.”

“This is an innovative collaboration that will ensure that all our great fans can watch Coyotes hockey on television for free and allows us to better connect with our incredible fans and fans-in-waiting,” said Coyotes President & CEO Xavier A. Gutierrez.

The one game not broadcast here is an ESPN+ exclusive (the Coyotes’ Dec. 21 game against the San Jose Sharks). So this is all the local games. There also will be promotions for those games on the main Channel 15 ABC network KNXV, but not the games themselves. And the Coyotes also say in that release they’re “committed to providing fans with a direct-to-consumer streaming option, and details will be announced when plans are finalized.”

As per that release, the Coyotes will produce the games, and play-by-play voice Matt McConnell, analyst Tyson Nash and hosts Todd Walsh and Jody Jackson will be back for all broadcasts. The games will also be broadcast in Tucson (on KGUN 9.2 – Cox channel 85 and Comcast channel 1179) and Salt Lake City (alternating between KUPX Utah 16 and KSTU 13.2 Antenna TV). And Scripps and the Coyotes will co-produce a monthly 30-minute Club Insider program that showcases the team, its players and the organization on and off the ice, which will air on KASW (the Phoenix CW affiliate) and KWBA (the Tucson CW affiliate).

This follows a similar deal that Scripps struck with the Vegas Golden Knights in May, with those games set to air on an ION affiliate there. And it’s part of a larger overall move into sports from Scripps, and a larger move of local sports rights to over-the-air stations. We’ll see how it works out for both sides.

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.