The Grand Rapids Griffins announced today that they've signed a 3 year TV deal with Michigan Entertainment Sports to broadcast 40 games a year (a minimum of 10 home games) in HD across Michigan, Indiana, and Ohio. MES is a new station that will begin broadcasting in August, and it's not yet known what providers will carry them nor the exact availability to viewers. This is the biggest broadcast deal the Griffins have ever had, and I'm pretty excited at the prospect of getting to watch Griffins games on my TV.
MES is aiming to be an "ultra-local" sports network covering the big teams in pro sports, but focusing on minor league teams containing athletes who are trying to make it to the big leagues, smaller colleges, and upper level high school athletics. In the full press conference, the president of MES said they 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. They'll be simulcasting the Griffins games on TV and radio so Bob Kaser will remain behind the mic as the play-by-play broadcaster and a color commentary announcer will be announced at a later time.
Here's the full press release from the Griffins.
GRIFFINS ANNOUNCE THREE-YEAR TELEVISION DEAL WITH MICHIGAN ENTERTAINMENT SPORTS
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – The Grand Rapids Griffins on Tuesday announced a landmark three-year television broadcast agreement with Michigan Entertainment Sports (MES).
MES will televise a minimum of 40 Griffins games – including a minimum of 10 home games – during each of the next three seasons. All games will be shown live in HD and will be available through an expanding network in Michigan, Ohio and Indiana.
This agreement with MES represents the most significant television package by far in Griffins history and the team’s first of any kind since the 2008-09 season. With the exception of the Chicago Wolves, no current AHL team will have as many of its 2014-15 games produced specifically for broadcast television as Grand Rapids.
The Griffins’ 40-plus TV games will be determined following the release of the AHL schedule in August. The television broadcasts will be simulcast on the team’s radio flagship, Newsradio WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM, and feature the play-by-play of the award-winning Bob Kaser, who will begin his 15th season as the Voice of the Griffins this fall. Color analysts for the telecasts will be announced at a later date.
"We are thrilled to return Griffins Hockey to television, especially given the tremendous success of the organization both on and off the ice these last two years," said Kaser. "Grand Rapids and the Griffins received a great deal of recognition throughout North America this season for developing so many Red Wings prospects who helped Detroit extend its remarkable Stanley Cup Playoff streak to 23 consecutive seasons. Now, thanks to this partnership with MES, we’ll get to showcase those young players and their progress in Grand Rapids to a regional audience on a frequent basis."
Griffins Hockey is the first major sports property to partner with MES, a Wixom, Mich.-based network that will launch this fall on cable providers throughout the three-state region. MES aims to be the Midwest's complete sports network, covering minor league, collegiate and high school sports, plus delivering its own high-quality original content.
"The Grand Rapids Griffins are one of the premier teams in the AHL," said MES president Peter Schinkai. "The defending Calder Cup champions have a storied history, a passionate fan base and a strong history working with the Detroit Red Wings as their top affiliate. MES strives to showcase the best sports in the Midwest, and nothing says high-quality hockey like the Grand Rapids Griffins."
More information about MES will be available soon at mes-tv.com.