The proposed Sinclair Broadcast Group’s acquisition of Tribune Media may have an impact for local sports fans. Sinclair owns KOMO TV, an ABC affiliate, which shows some programming from its Disney sister channel, ESPN. Locally, this means some Pac-12 football games and, well…the NBA.
Tribune owns KCPQ, also known as Q13 Fox, being a Fox affiliate. Because of that relationship, Q13 Fox broadcasts most of the Seahawks’ games. Additionally, they are the team’s preseason home. The station also holds the local rights for the Sounders and Storm. And similar to KOMO, Q13 Fox broadcasts Pac-12 football and basketball due to Fox Sports contract with the conference.
Sinclair is also trying to make a go of it with the American Sports Network. It’s billed as a multi-platform network, albeit one with secondary conferences and games. Perhaps the proposed merger is a way for Sinclair to boost distribution of ASN while also acquiring more sports rights to potentially feed its way.
So what changes for fans if the merger is approved? Probably not much, at least initially, but it bears watching. Sinclair would own stations that are affiliates of two of the four major broadcast networks, both of which show sports relevant to local fans. And, Sinclair would be the rights holders for the Sounders, Storm and preseason Seahawks games. Even mergers in far off places can work their way back to the local level.