Atlanta Hawks, SportSouth reach new TV deal


It’s been almost a guarantee that, when the NBA and Atlanta Hawks schedule is announced, the Hawks wont be seen around five to six times a year. SportSouth will take around 75 of their games (like they’re doing this year), and if the Hawks are scheduled against a “public” team, ESPN might pick it up, because, hey why not?

Well, all that will change starting next year, after the Hawks and SportSouth reached a new TV deal (hat-tip to Chris Vivlamore of the AJC) that will not only keep SportSouth as the exclusive regional-rights holder for Hawks games, but they will broadcast all 82 regular season games. Hawks CEO Steve Koonin was, rightfully, excited about the new deal:

"We are excited to extend our partnership with SportSouth and build off the record-setting ratings that we established during our thrilling playoff series last season,” Koonin said. “The broadcast of live sports is crucial to our business and we are fortunate to have a great partner with such a large footprint to grow our fan base.”"

I honestly never realized that not all Hawks games were being televised (most of those were along the equivalent of a 2 p.m. Sunday game), but this is huge and awesome. I remember the days when all but a handful of Braves games were televised, but if you tell that to someone just a few years younger than I, they’d think you’re joking. However, I must say, the best part of this news is it means that Bob Rathbun and Dominique Wilkins will be on air 82 times a year, who are the best broadcasting crew in the NBA, and one of the best in pro sports. (Rathbun is also an exceptional play-by-play man.)

There was also some outrage this preseason that SportSouth didn’t show any preseason games, but that will change as well, as the agreement allows for three preseason broadcasts.

How do you feel about the new Atlanta Hawks deal? Were you excited? Does it really make that much of a difference? Let us know in a comment below or on twitter @ATLBeatBlog.