Mandatory Credit: Sam Navarro-USA TODAY Sports

The reigning Stanley Cup champion Florida Panthers are the latest team to jump ship from Bally Sports, inking a multi-year media rights deal with Scripps Sports.

The team made the announcement on Tuesday,

Per the Panthers’ release, beginning this fall, the team’s games will air on WSFL in Miami and Fort Lauderdale, WHDT in West Palm Beach, and a still-to-be-announced network in Fort Myers. Both WSFL and WHDT are Scripps-owned stations that are independent. WSFL was previously a CW affiliate, but Nexstar announced in April that its affiliation would not be renewed as of September 1.

A direct-to-consumer product will also be launched, with details announced before the 2024-25 season starts.

Both the Panthers and Scripps talked up the new deal in a release.

“After back-to-back Stanley Cup Final appearances and celebrating 30 years of Panthers Hockey in South Florida, we could not be more excited about the future of our hockey team. Scripps’ distribution network and accessibility makes them the ideal partner to stream and carry Panthers content on and off the ice,” said Panthers President and CEO Matthew Caldwell. “Panthers content will be available for free over the air and we are thrilled about the new homes this will reach as we continue to grow our great sport.”


“The Florida Panthers are the best team in the NHL, and their fans deserve to be able to see all of their games on every available broadcast platform, including free over-the-air,” said Brian Lawlor, Scripps Sports president. “When the Stanley Cup champions take the ice in October, Scripps Sports will be proud to bring all locally broadcast games to all the Panthers fans in Miami/Fort Lauderdale, West Palm Beach and Fort Myers using our powerful over-the-air TV stations.”

A spokesperson for Diamond Sports Group told AA that the parting of ways was “a mutual agreement.”

“After careful review and dialogue, Diamond reached a mutual agreement with the Florida Panthers to end our existing telecast rights contract. We greatly value the relationships we have built with the Panthers and their fans, and we wish them the best. We remain in productive discussions with the NHL around go-forward arrangements with our remaining team partners under contract and are focused on reorganizing as a sustainable and profitable entity.”

Panthers games had aired on Bally Sports Florida or its predecessors for nearly three decades. The ongoing Diamond Sports Group bankruptcy process (and associated carriage disputes with providers like Comcast) has resulted in several teams jumping ship. The Miami Marlins, whose games also air on Bally Sports Florida, offered to pay for two months of Bally Sports+ due to Diamond’s carriage dispute with Comcast.

Bally Sports Florida also airs Orlando Magic games, while sister network Bally Sports Sun airs games from the Miami Heat, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Tampa Bay Rays.

The Panthers are the third NHL team to ink a carriage deal with Scripps, along with the Vegas Golden Knights (last year’s Stanley Cuo champions) and Utah Hockey Club (who agreed to a deal when they were the Arizona Coyotes). Last fall, the company claimed it had contingency deals in place with several teams in case the Bally Sports RSNs cut teams loose.

[Florida Panthers]

About Joe Lucia

I hate your favorite team. I also sort of hate most of my favorite teams.