New Orleans Hornets and Fox Sports Announce New Long-Term TV Rights Agreement

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Published: June 25, 2012

Hornets games to be available on new “FOX Sports New Orleans” network.

The New Orleans Hornets and FOX Sports today announced that they have reached a long-term television rights agreement that establishes “FOX Sports New Orleans” as the new local television home of the Hornets. Financial details were not disclosed.

Under the new agreement, FOX Sports New Orleans will televise approximately 75 regular-season Hornets games per season, including any games not selected for exclusive distribution by the NBA’s national TV partners.

FOX also announced that its regional sports network currently serving the New Orleans market (FOX Sports Southwest) will be re-launched as “FOX Sports New Orleans” in October to coincide with the start of the Hornets’ 2012-13 season.

“This is great news for our market, for our fans and for our region. This will be tremendous for the New Orleans Hornets and our continued growth. It’s important that we continue to brand our great city and we see no better way than our partnership with FOX Sports and the creation of FOX Sports New Orleans,” said Tom Benson, Chairman of the New Orleans Hornets. “We will be able to further integrate our assets including with our local affiliate WVUE-TV Fox 8. There are many positive moves happening with the Hornets such as the improvements to the Arena and of course our upcoming selection of the number one overall pick in the NBA Draft and this announcement is just the beginning.”

“We are pleased to welcome the Hornets to the FOX Sports family,” said Jeff Krolik, Executive Vice President of FOX Sports Networks. “This is an exciting time for the Hornets and their fans. The team has generated tremendous buzz with the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft. We are delighted to be partners with them and look forward to a long and successful relationship.”

“We’re excited to be the new home for Hornets basketball,” said FOX Sports Southwest Senior Vice President/General Manager Jon Heidtke. “We look forward to showcasing their games in New Orleans and helping the team grow its fan base throughout Louisiana and their television footprint. We’re committed to making FOX Sports New Orleans the premier destination for local sports programming.”

Hornets’ coverage on FOX Sports New Orleans will include HORNETS LIVE pregame and postgame shows and other team shoulder programming.

FOX Sports New Orleans will become the 21st regional sports network in the FOX Sports Networks family. The network will offer a robust lineup of local sports programming, including SEC football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, Olympic sports and coaches’ shows. Other regional programming on FOX Sports New Orleans will feature Big 12 and Conference USA collegiate events, Texas Rangers baseball, and Dallas Stars hockey. FOX Sports New Orleans will be available to over 1.6 million cable and satellite TV homes throughout the Hornets territory.

FOX Sports is the nation’s leader in offering hometown NBA coverage through FSN, the largest owned-and-operated regional sports network group in the country. FSN serves as the local television home to more than half of all NBA teams, producing more than 1,000 live NBA telecasts per season.

The above is from the Hornets. What follows are our own additions.

This is as we laid out in February, with more details now that things have advanced.

It will be October before things are completely settled, but Fox Sports New Orleans will essentially replace Fox Sports Southwest. As the latter is on Cox, Charter, Dish, DirecTV, Uverse, and more in the local area, this will likely continue, though deals need to be made and maintained. As we often see, carriage struggles are always flaring up in markets, and Benson was involved in one this year.

Look for an evolution of this channel, just as other regional sports networks evolve. Additionally, it is possible for the current coverage areas for the Fox Sports channels to be redone.

With this brings interesting long-term possibilities, such as the Saints moving their shows to Fox Sports New Orleans should CST give up the ghost, as indications are it will.

Bob and Gil are employed by the Hornets, so this change does not directly affect their roles, and any change regarding the commentary will be a separate move. Victor is a CST guy, so him staying would require a separate move.

The commercials seen that involve Hornets sponsors will not necessarily change, though some could.

The thing to carry away from this is that, reportedly, the 10 year deal is not worth much more than than the last deal. It stands to reason that the comments Hugh Weber made on our podcast bear out, and the team is looking for production quality and market penetration more than direct payments. This is good for all Hornets fans.

Joe Gerrity adds:

The deal with Fox Sports ensures that finally, after so many years, DirecTV customers, including so many bars, will be able to turn on Hornets games. The ability to walk into a local watering hole and watch the local basketball team is something that citizens in most cities take for granted. In New Orleans it hasn’t been a sure thing, and in many cases it’s been a guaranteed no.

Other highlights include the news that they will televise approximately 75 games per year, plus whichever games are not broadcast by the NBA’s current national partners. That means… wait for it… ALL THE HORNETS GAMES MIGHT BE COVERED ON TELEVISION.

EXCUSE THE CAPITAL LETTERS. THIS IS A POTENTIALLY GLORIOUS DAY FOR LOCAL FANS.

I’ve written in the past about the problems with Cox Sports, and in particular the lack of availability of a handful of games. This TV deal seems to likely solve all of the longstanding problems. No longer will we try to host watch parties, only to be told that the sports bar we’re in doesn’t carry local basketball. No longer will I go to a friend’s house only to learn that I can’t throw the game on while we play cards. No longer will Hornets fans be forced to watch standard definition basketball, despite the broadcast claiming to be in high definition.

Fox Sports is legit.

Finally.

38 comments
Ryan Dutsch
Ryan Dutsch

Calmes, You need to send an application to Fox Sports. You might can get a job being head hornets commentator. So who is your #10 pick or you trading it?

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

The three typos are fixed. The correct uses of Hornets and a and an remain, though ignored by your digs. The n I left off of see, I suppose I have no excuse for other than I just screwed up. May I be struck down. I hope you can now enjoy the best Hornets content out there. Let me know if I screw up your delicate faculties once again with simple, human, errors. Be sure to beat me and berate me again, too. A "here's some help" won't do. I will refrain from mentioning your errors.

J
J

No Bob and Gil they suck get some new guys.

Chris
Chris

New Orleans Locals! Im heading over to the US shortly, gonna be down in NOLA for a few days. Where is the best place to get Hornets Merchandise?

chunk
chunk

this is great news i can finally the hornets play after 4 years because of my cable provider. But already checked into it and uverse has the channel its 725/1725 for(HD) for customers in the Thibodaux/Houma area, cant wait skynet!!!

Roe Womack
Roe Womack

hope Bob and Gil stay..... I truly believe we have the best announcers in basketball

Whodat--Wedat
Whodat--Wedat

I live in Houston :(... Was wondering if I were to purchase the Fox Sports package on a satellite cable provider, would the Hornets games be blackout because I'm not in the market of the Hornets. Don't want to purchase NBA League Pass, but I will have to if the games are blacked out. SkyNet > Blake

Josh
Josh

I don't have NBA TV, so will those games still be on FSNNO?

Jay G
Jay G

Thank heavens! Living in the BR area, I've been petitioning DirecTV forever about this problem. Even the hornets games on ESPN or NBATV were blocked. I welcome this awesome news.

Karl
Karl

I hope residents in Lake Charles and Shreveport can also have the option to see it without League pass! I'm very excited about this. Fox Sports's graphics are also much better

jjmartin
jjmartin

We have a new owner and tv deal. Then we get Anthony Davis and Austin Rivers(barring a trade) on draft night. Talk about possible overnight success.

pschafer
pschafer

Let's not underrate the importance of the improved quality of the broadcast itself. The CST high definition was awful!

MSHornetfan
MSHornetfan

does anyone know if this new channel will reach to Oxford MS? Long time hornets fan headed to Ole Miss next year and im looking to find out if that area will get Fox New Orleans!

Stevie B
Stevie B

So it is still only a MIGHT that all the games would be televised? That sounds awesome?

nola hustle
nola hustle

bout time all the games on, now how about getting some hd on the road games?

Chuck
Chuck

WOWCOOLCAPSLOCK Great news. Also, when I read "approximately 75 regular-season Hornets games per season" I was confused because I forgot the season is 82 games long, not 66 -___-

Josh
Josh

I think that this is great. I liked CST, and I didn't realize that most people didn't have it; but this is great for everyone. I hope they bring back Victor.

ryancaz
ryancaz

I hope 7up has a new commercial

Mickey Chatman
Mickey Chatman

Ok. Hopefully I can catch some games here at fort Bragg. Nba league pass is way too expensive.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Marshall is my preference, unless there is a math major I don't know about. I think this is not the most likely outcome, however. ETA: No TV here. Face not fit for print.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

At least one. Did you? I assume you have an issue with some of the text. Which part?

Karl
Karl

Yes because we have FS Houston and I could never see Rockets games. They always switched to boxing because I wasn't in their market.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

You will need LP, except when they play the Rockets.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

I think it depends. I'll find out. With some not televised all the time before, CST would rearrange things to give maximal converage. With this, it may just be an extra thing if there are enough games that are nationally televised, so at least 7. In that case, go to the bar or another hornets fans' house. Yeah?

loudlikepat
loudlikepat

yeah, I'm from shreveport and watched all the games on cst. i have fox sports southwest, but it's all mavs and rockets games. I'm assuming we will get foxNO. If not, I'm burning everything in sight! Plants, water, living creatures, and EVEN FIRE ITSELF! Give me skynet!

StefanC
StefanC

I couldn't tell if I was looking at Ariza or Okafor on CST. Now, I won't have to look for either of them on FSNO.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Only an hour or so from Memphis, my Grizzled friend

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

75 plus all games not on national tv. Adding in the ones on national tv, that's all. Preseason likely excluded. Other FSN deals recently signed have similar looking coverage.

Soundwave
Soundwave

7up, most notably RC, might not be a major sponsor because their deal is up. The Saints and the Dome use CoCa-Cola as their sponsor and major drink so it is somewhat expected that deal will be reached with the Hornets.

Darren
Darren

There are 3 grammar mistakes I found. 1.) "The above is from the Horents." Obviously, Hornets is misspelled. 2.) "so him staying would require an separate move." "An" is only used when it is followed by a word beginning with a vowel, not the word "separate". 3.) "The commercials see that involve Hornets sponsors will not necessarily change, though some could." I assume that you meant to use the word "seen", not "see", because that sentence makes no sense. I'm not pointing this out to be a jerk. I'm just tired of reading articles online with so many spelling and grammar mistakes. If you are typing this for free, that's fine, but if you are getting paid to do this, you either need to check your work when you are finished, or have an editor. It's not just you. It happens everywhere online, but it gets annoying when you are reading an interesting article, like this one, and you have to stop constantly because there are so many mistakes.

Patrick Clay
Patrick Clay

Seriously. Same with Belinelli and Vasquez.

Michael McNamara
Michael McNamara

Speaking of,,, just talked to a buddy who has a buddy who works for the league and he says to expect 8-14 national TV games this year after drafting SkyNet, though most will be on NBATV. Still, not bad

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Dr Pepper Snapple Group has the deal bow, and RC is their cola. The deal runs out in 2013.

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

All that said. Ease up, people. The idea that we are careless, ignorant, or don't care is insane, and the tone of some of the comments we've gotten is like this. Point out improvements, be a part of the team, and be happy you get the 99% good grammar and 100% good content. Mistakes happen. What's really the big deal? It interrupted a perfect day? Cry me a river. There's a way to do it, and the post above is, minus the rant about all writing needing to be perfect and the insinuation that I don't know the difference between a and an. Really? If that's the case, why read?

Jason Calmes
Jason Calmes

Not disputing any of that. Explanation appeciated, not necessary. I understand the rules, didn't see the errors. I do not get paid for this. I should hold myself to do better. I proofed it, then proofed it after the guy commented snarkily and didn't see those. I don't rely on spell check. To cover for, and that browser I was using lacked it anyway. I'll put the fixes in when I'm not on a phone, so after Van Halen. This was a quick turnaround piec, but I should have checked it in word later. That said... thanks for reading, and I'm glad we set such high standards that our readers demand perfection.