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Deseret News - Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith talks TV deal


Joe Coles

FILE — Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith talks to media about the upcoming NBA All-Star 2023 Weekend at Vivint Arena in Salt Lake City, on Monday, Feb. 6, 2023. Smith talked about the upcoming Jazz TV deal on a podcast in June.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

The Utah Jazz’s television deal with AT&T Sportsnet has expired, and Jazz fans are eagerly awaiting the team’s new broadcast deal.

In a podcast interview with Sportsnet Canada’s Jeff Marek and Elliotte Friedman, Jazz owner Ryan Smith touched on a number of topics, including his interest in bringing an NHL team to Utah, working with Jazz general manager Danny Ainge, and the decision to trade Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert.

Smith spoke about his desire to make Jazz games available to everyone in Utah.

“Right now we’re producing Jazz games to 40% of our market. I stood up publicly and said that’s not gonna fly this next year. We’re going wall to wall in the state, 3 million people. Everyone’s going to have access. If you’ve got rabbit ears on your television, you’re going to be able to watch the games,” Smith said.

“That’s super important to me ... we’ll figure out how to offset the revenue contract for that another way, but our players and coaches ... they’re working way too hard to not have their games be viewed by the masses.”

It’s Smith’s strongest hint yet that Jazz games next season could possibly end up on over-the-air television.

Ryan Smith has said essentially the same thing to me and I assume many others. He’s really intent on making Jazz games accessible https://t.co/n2R8XvHBmj

— Sarah Todd (@NBASarah) June 6, 2023

The Jazz also want to provide a direct-to-consumer streaming option.

“The team (Jazz) wants to marry a broadcast on TV and a direct-to-consumer option to reach fans who prefer one or the other,” The Athletic’s Mike Vorkunov reported this March.

“And really just speak to what our fans want for the ’23-24 season that speak to some of the things we identified as priorities at the beginning of the season, in terms of distribution and fan experience. And the ability for that direct-to-consumer streaming option,” Jazz spokesperson Caroline Klein told The Athletic.

In the past few months, the NBA’s Phoenix Suns, WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury and the NHL’s Vegas Golden Knights reached deals to broadcast their games on over-the-air TV as traditional regional sports networks are starting to crumble.

AT&T SportsNet, which has exclusively broadcast Jazz games in Utah under one name or another since 2009, is discontinuing its regional sports networks. Diamond Sports Group — operator of Bally Sports, which broadcasts 42 pro sports teams — filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in March.


“I want every single Jazz fan, no matter where they are in the state and beyond, to be able to watch our games in any format that they want to, and I want it to be easy,” Jazz owner Ryan Smith said in an interview with KSL Sports’ Scott Garrard and Hans Olsen in March.

Full Story from the Deseret News...