Real Salt Lake has announced a new local television deal – which, as it turns out, will create a regional network.
The team is in the process of finalizing a deal that will put their games on stations in six cities and increase their reach from less than a million homes in the Salt Lake TV market to approximately 5.5 million on seven stations in five states.
“We're going to be like the mouse that roared,” team owner Dell Loy Hansen said. “This puts us ahead of teams like Seattle and Portland and more on the same page as Los Angeles.”
The multi-year deal is with Sinclair Broadcasting, which owns two stations (KUTV and KMYU) in Utah. During the 2015 regular season, KMYU will telecast 26 of 32 regular-season games; the other six will be MLS national games.
KUTV will also promote the team on the air and online; KMYU will air a weekly edition of its late-night sports show “Talkin' Sports” devoted primarily to RSL.
And the new contract is for more than just local games.
Sinclair's American Sports Network will produce the games and air them on Sinclair-owned stations in Las Vegas, Boise and Reno. Sinclair and RSL are also in the final stages of negotiating deals with stations in Albuquerque, Phoenix and Tucson.
“This year, we're making a quantum leap,” said Hansen, who pointed out that the increased exposure will mean increased sponsorship and advertising opportunities for the team – and its players.
“This is a really exciting thing, not just for Real Salt Lake but for the growth of soccer in the United States,” said team captain Kyle Beckerman. “We're extremely proud to play for our fans here in Utah, but now we can open that up to these other states and really make Real Salt Lake this regional team.”
In addition to the expanded station lineup, the games will now appear in three-hour broadcast windows (up from 2 ½); every game will include a half-hour pregame, a two-hour game telecast and a half-hour postgame show.
As many as six of the team’s preseason games at the Deseret Diamond Classic in Arizona will also be streamed on KMYU.tv. They won't feature high-definition production, but they will be seen.
Plans are also under way to stream USL PRO games featuring the Real Monarchs on the website.