Scripps Sports & ION logos

On the heels of signing its first major sports media rights deal, Scripps sounds like they’re looking to do another one very soon.

Just four months after launching Scripps Sports, the company signed a multi-year deal that will bring 15 WNBA games to the Scripps-owned ION this season.

In December, Awful Announcing’s Joe Lucia said that the network would likely “focus on more affordable, higher ceiling properties” like the WNBA. Now that that’s come to pass, all eyes are on what’s next for one of the newest players in the sports broadcasting space, especially as the RSN business implodes around them.

“If we found another league that was the right fit and intersected so well with the demographics that we have on ION, there’s room for more,” Scripps CEO Adam Symson told Broadcasting+Cable on Thursday.

The most obvious connection might be to one or more of the Major League Baseball clubs who will be looking for a new TV partner as Sinclair Broadcast Group’s Bally Sports RSNs entered bankruptcy and have stopped paying some teams for rights. While MLB figures out how to get those rights back, Symson is ready and waiting to have those discussions.

“MLB has the whole situation well in hand,“ Symson said. ”We’ve obviously had conversations with the folks in distribution with every major league that has been dependent on the RSN business. Where we think there’s a fit with our local footprint and league or a series of teams, we’re absolutely ready to do a deal.”

The Scripps CEO added that he thinks the changing landscape of sports broadcasting, from the rise of streaming services to the demise of RSNs, is sending a signal that it’s time for a fresh approach to media rights.

“I do think that the sports marketplace for the most part is ready for a new model,” Symson said. “We brought a different kind of model to the marketplace when we are speaking with leagues and teams, and our message is resonating. We bring unparalleled reach and they are seeking to connect with as many fans as possible, especially in this environment of fragmentation.”

Given that the Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Guardians, Arizona Diamondbacks, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers are all potential candidates to need new TV homes, and Scripps has local stations in Cleveland, Cincinnati, Minneapolis, Dallas, and Phoenix, we’ll see if “How do I watch ION?” is the new “How do I watch truTV?” very soon.

[Broadcasting & Cable]

About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to