In a ground breaking move, the AHL will see it’s second “permanent” television deal as the Grand Rapids Griffins have signed a three-year deal with Michigan Entertainment Sports.
MES is a Wixom based network that will launch in the fall of 2014 and this according to their President, Peter Schinkai, if the first of many deal’s with major sports partners.
“we want to be like a Fox Sports Detroit or ESPN, covering hockey, football, baseball, basketball, and even some soccer, but focusing on the minor and local sports while still covering the big leagues as well.
This is not the first time Grand Rapids have had a TV partner but the amount of games to be broadcast and the length of the deal makes this a far different proposition.
Chicago Wolves are the only team to broadcast every single game live throughout the season and the worry a lot of clubs have about this is the fact that fans prefer to watch at home than come out to the games.
The Griffins deal makes sense on that level as the deal is to show a total of 40 games, with just ten of those home games at Van Andel Arena. It’s hope by showing so many road games, that more fans will be introduced to the team and be encouraged to see them play live.
Bob Kaser will keep his duties as play-by-play guy in what will be his 15th season with Grand Rapids, which will include the television as well as radio. The colour analysts will be announced at a later date.
All games will be determined once the AHL schedule is fully released, which is normally around mid-August and MES announced that all broadcasts will be in HD. If you’ve ever watched a game on AHL Live, then you’ll know what a blessing HD would be!
There could be future games broadcast if the Griffins make the post-season, although details are hazy on what exactly that would entail.
I wish both organisations every success with this venture. The AHL isn’t always an easy sell but this is a positive step.