FILE – Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith speaks to reporters during a news conference, Sept. 26, 2022, in Salt Lake City. The Utah Jazz will begin making their game broadcasts available over-the-air starting this coming season, becoming the latest franchise to pivot to a new option for fans and potentially reaching more viewers than ever before. The Jazz unveiled their plan Tuesday, June 20, 2023, with owner Ryan Smith announcing the launch of his new production company called SEG Media. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)
The Utah Jazz will begin making their game broadcasts available over-the-air starting this coming season, becoming the latest franchise to pivot to a new option for fans and potentially reaching more viewers than ever before.
The Jazz unveiled their plan Tuesday, with owner Ryan Smith announcing the launch of his new production company called SEG Media. Its platforms will allow Jazz fans with a basic antenna to watch all games that aren’t televised nationally, and will also feature a paid subscription-based streaming service that will also feature unique team content.
Smith said only 39% of households in the state had the ability to watch Jazz games when he bought the team.
“Now, if you have a TV with rabbit ears, we’re going to be able to hit 100% of our audience,” Smith said.
It’s similar to deals recently announced by the Stanley Cup champion Vegas Golden Knights, along with the NBA’s Phoenix Suns and WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury. The Los Angeles Clippers also unveiled a direct-to-consumer option last October.
The move is the latest development in a rapidly changing sports-viewership marketplace. Diamond Sports Group, the largest owner of regional sports networks, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in March; that company, under the Bally Sports banner, has shown games from more than 40 MLB, NBA and NHL teams.
“Obviously, the RSN model around the globe is changing and we’d rather lean into it and focus on the experience and providing the best experience for our fans,” Smith said.
The Jazz and the new production company received necessary approvals from the NBA on the new venture, which will be ready to go when the season starts in October, Smith said.
“We have an incredible fan base, but we’re only showing the games to, at best, 40% of them,” Smith said. “And so, we came up with this new philosophy or way to do this where instead of licensing our TV rights to one group and just saying, ‘Hey, we’ll take whatever you guys do,’ we basically said we’re going to be in the media business.”