The Diamondbacks will be a bit easier to find on the television next season. The organization announced Friday that it has granted exclusive television rights to FSN Arizona, ending its 10-year relationship with KTVK (Ch. 3).
The cable network will broadcast up to 150 games per season beginning next spring.
KTVK wanted to decrease the number of broadcasts from 75 to 40 games next season due to the difficulty of airing games during prime time in midweek. Instead, the Diamondbacks decided to go exclusively with FSN Arizona, which is not only able to air games but also pregame and postgame shows.
The eight-year deal is part of a larger trend of major league teams granting exclusive rights to regional cable outlets.
“Over the air, it’s becoming harder to clear programming, especially in prime time,” Diamondbacks president Derrick Hall said. “We’ll see more teams going this direction because you can surround the games with so much ancillary programming.”
FSN Arizona reaches 2.8 million viewers in Arizona and New Mexico. The network is broadcasting 75 games this season, up from 60 in 2005 and 70 in 2006.
Though games will no longer be available over the air on Ch. 3, Hall said fans without cable will be able to tune into the 50 games broadcast on Spanish-language KPHE (Ch. 44).
He also pointed out that fans outside Maricopa County will now have more access to broadcasts since many could not receive Ch. 3.
“Would we prefer to have every game over the air for our fans? Absolutely,” Hall said. “It wasn’t an easy decision.”