The Phoenix Suns are bringing old-school television viewing back, but the antennas the team is gifting to fans aren’t your grandpa’s “rabbit ears.”
Free indoor antennas are available on the Suns’ website as of Thursday. The giveaway is part of the team’s new television deal with Gray Television to broadcast all 70 non-exclusive regular-season Suns games on Arizona‘s Family, the region’s channel 3 station. All five of the Suns’ preseason games will be available on the station, as well.
The deal offers local fans free access to games — but most modern televisions don’t pick up local channels, and some streaming services don’t provide them. So, the Suns partnered with TV antenna and accessory manufacturer Channel Master for a solution.
It doesn’t seem like the new-aged antennas are difficult to install, based on Channel Master’s YouTube tutorial. They do look different than the antiquated two-pronged antennas, though. The “FLATenna” option being offered has a rectangular surface that can stick to a wall or window, with a cord that plugs into the TV.
The new take on an old fixture could very well be the future norm for sports fans. Phoenix’s first-of-its-kind broadcasting arrangement came a month after Bally Sports Cable’s parent company Diamond Sports Group filed for bankruptcy protection in March.
In addition to the free local TV viewing option, Gray Television also offers fans mobile access to Suns games on its new streaming app. The Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA is also held by Suns’ billionaire owner Mat Ishbia and will make games available this way, as well.
The Suns were the first team in any of the four major American sports leagues to move on from cable television, but others could follow suit. Bally Sports held rights to a plethora of games, including those of six NBA teams, fourteen MLB teams, and twelve NHL teams.
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