WOW: The Suns Are Ditching Cable to Air All Their Games for Free

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WOW: The Suns Are Ditching Cable to Air All Their Games for Free

Chicago Bulls, NBA, News

New Phoenix Suns owner Mat Ishbia has wasted no time making his presence felt.

After trading for Kevin Durant mid-way through the season, the team’s new showrunner has decided to make another shocking move. According to ESPN, the Suns will no longer air their games on cable.

The organization’s long-standing deal with Bally Sports Arizona has come to an end. Instead of re-signing or finding a new provider, Ishbia has decided to air games on local television stations for free. They will also be streamed online via a direct-to-consumer service.

As Brian Windhorst notes, this decision will cost the franchise tens of millions of dollars in guaranteed money each season. But the move will also take the Suns from nearly 800,000 households to 2.8 million. In the eyes of Ishbia, the team isn’t concerned about making money in the short-term, and is far more (correctly!) keen on adding to their fanbase for long-term gains.

“We’re going to have more fans than ever before,” Ishbia said. “We’re going to have more people who will have eyeballs on Devin Booker and Deandre [Ayton] and Kevin Durant, Chris [Paul] and cheer the team on. And more people buying merchandise because they’re bigger fans.”

I’ve got to admit, this is a refreshing approach from an NBA team owner. Not many other governors would leave that big of a paycheck on the table. But I guess it goes to show the dedication Ishbia has in trying to expand the team’s brand. The question now is whether or not other teams – regardless of the sport – follow suit.

Finding a way to get the game and a specific team in front of more eyes should only serve as a positive in the long run. I have to imagine other markets around the league will watch this move from Ishbia closely to weigh whether or not it’s the right move for them.

If one thing is for sure, I have a hard time picturing Jerry Reinsdorf taking this path soon. The Chicago Bulls’ television deal with NBC Sports Chicago will expire in 2024. In June of 2022, Jeff Argest of the Sun-Times already hinted at Reinsdorf considering his own RSN network similar to what the Chicago Cubs did with Marquee.

Author: Elias Schuster

Elias Schuster is the Lead Bulls Writer at Bleacher Nation. You can follow him on Twitter @Schuster_Elias.