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Coyotes agree to deal with Scripps Sports to show games over the air

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The Arizona Coyotes have reached a four-year deal with Scripps Sports and will become the second NHL team to broadcast games over the air.

Scripps will broadcast all non-national Coyotes games to roughly 3 million people in Arizona and Utah in the deal announced Thursday. The Vegas Golden Knights are the only other NHL team to broadcast its games over the air.

“One of the challenges of the (regional sports model) is it was really shrinking in terms of the number of households that had access to our games,” Coyotes President and CEO Xavier Gutierrez said. “That was really counter to what we were trying to do and that’s super serving our fan base and really try to capture new fans, especially as we’re building the young, exciting team.”

The deal comes a day after Diamond Sports Net Arizona agreed to end its telecast rights agreement with the Coyotes. Diamond Sports has been in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in Texas since March. The company said in a financial filing last fall that it had debt of $8.67 billion.

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The Coyotes become the third Arizona sports franchise to seek an alternative to Diamond and Bally Sports Arizona.

The NBA’s Phoenix Suns moved their games to local television and the streaming service Kiswe. Major League Baseball took over Arizona Diamondbacks’ broadcasts this season after federal bankruptcy judge granted a motion in July for Diamond Sports to reject its rights agreement.

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All but one Coyotes games will be available on the Antenna TV network via KNXV.2 — channel 15.2 over the air with an antenna — and on Cox cable.

The Coyotes’ broadcast team will remain in place and broadcasts will include pregame and postgame coverage.

The Coyotes also are working on a streaming option for fans to watch their games.

“There’s a lot of disruption in the media right now and we were concerned after the Suns moved on from Bally and obviously after the Dbacks made the decision to move on,” Gutierrez said. “We were the last team under contract with Bally and we were very concerned we would end up in the situation where we couldn’t have our games be seen in the market.”

Arizona opens the season Oct. 13 at New Jersey.