With the Golden Knights beginning their quest Tuesday to win back-to-back Stanley Cup championships, more fans will have access to the team’s games on television.
Vegas 34 will air 69 regular-season Knights games this season on the Scripps Sports-operated local station that is available on over-the-air TV, cable and satellite. The games are also available via the team’s KnightTime+ streaming app.
“With this being Vegas’ team, being ‘Vegas Born’ as they say, we thought it was very important that Vegas had the ability to watch the games on linear,” said Quinn Pacini, vice president of Scripps Sports broadcast operations. “Kerry (Bubolz), the president of the team, was very adamant that that distribution was in place for that community.”
“Mr. Foley, I think he’s a visionary and I think he understands the value in more eyeballs and accessibility to his team and what they’re building,” Pacini said.
Jeff Kiernan, general manager of KTNV and Vegas 34, is excited for the new partnership with the Knights and the launch of the new station.
“Rarely in your career do you get a chance to start a second television station from scratch,” Kiernan said. “It’s a lot of work, but it’s an awful a lot of fun. What better to be able to do that, as you start a station and be the home of the defending Stanley Cup champions the Vegas Golden Knights.”
The broadcast team that was on board with the previous game provider, AT&T SportsNet, is all still together for the Scripps offering.
Scripps is adding various features to make for an enhanced viewing experience, akin to what the Knights offer fans who attend games in person at T-Mobile Arena.
“Their (Golden Knights) pregame show is bar none, probably one of the most electric in the NHL. It’s such a show. It’s such an event,” Pacini said. “We felt, very quickly, that our broadcasts need to resemble that type of experience.”
Scripps executives met with the on-air talent and their executive team about what needed to be added to take the broadcasts to the next level.
Those talks lead to the creation of an enhanced graphics package, with more animations and data integration, with a more dynamic look.
“We made a significant investment in the broadcast technology so that we could utilize that data,” Pacini said. “How fast that the players are skating, how long that they’re on the ice, how fast does the puck move. What is the outcome of when certain players are on the ice at the same time. All of this data is already recorded by the NHL, but it requires an additional investment to be able to aggregate that data in a way that can be used live in a broadcast.”
Enhancements to the pregame, intermission and postgame shows will also be in place. A subtle addition that some might not notice is increased latency, to offset camera and lip sync delays that were experienced with the previous broadcast provider.
Shane Hindy, a former NHL player and color analyst for the broadcasts, made a specific request for Scripps to add what AT&T SportsNet broadcast didn’t offer.
“He was adamant that we add a telestrator as well,” Pacini said.
A Knights season kickoff show is scheduled to air Tuesday between 6 pm.-7 p.m. on Vegas 34 and simulcast on KTNV Ch. 13, where viewers will be introduced to the broadcast and get a glimpse of what to expect this year.
The team’s magazine show, “Knight Life,” will debut on Vegas 34 and is planned to air at 7 p.m. every Friday during the season.
Work is being done to add more local shows to Vegas 34 when not airing Knights games or content, with the station also airing various reruns of television shows in between. For instance, in September the channel aired a UNR Wolf Pack football game to give that a try. Simulcasts of KTNV newscasts and Scripps News are also aired on Vegas 34.
“Perhaps providing opportunities for any number of folks, whether it be sports teams or other programming that maybe haven’t had the chance at exposure and being able to consider that,” Kiernan said. “And some syndicated fun programs, like ‘Beverly Hillbillies,’ but it allows us the opportunity to take a look at various programming to see if it is a fit.”