Home Game Reviews Cavs to air five games over the air on WUAB (Channel 43)

Cavs to air five games over the air on WUAB (Channel 43)

by dev

Gray Television owners of WOIO (Channel 19) and WUAB (Channel 43) will air five Cleveland Cavaliers games during the second half of the NBA season, according to an announcement the team made Tuesday.

It marks the first time that a local telecast of the team will be available on over-the-air television (antenna) since the 2017-18 season, the last year the team appeared in the NBA Finals.

Diamond Sports Group (owner of Bally Sports Ohio), which has been in bankruptcy proceedings for almost a year, currently owns broadcast rights for the Cavs. However, as part of a deal approved in bankruptcy court this past fall, they and the NBA teams they hold rights agreed those organizations – in exchange for accepting reduced rights fees – could sell up to 10 games to another broadcast partner.

Cavs news: CEO Nic Barlage says team working to solve broadcast puzzle with Bally Sports

Gray Television made waves prior to the start of the NBA season by partnering with the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury of the NBA and WNBA, respectively, to air their games in the Phoenix market.

They could not have struck a deal with the Cavs at a more fortuitous moment. The team is playing its best basketball of the year, having won 17-of-19 and currently own the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference as they head into this weekend’s All-Star break.

With playoff seeding, and a likely battle for that two-slot on the line, interest in the team will be high. Airing on a channel carried on cable and satellite systems along with live TV streaming services such as YouTube TV in addition to over-the-air will only increase the team’s exposure.

Channel 43 will air the following games:

  • Boston Celtics – March 5
  • Minnesota Timberwolves – March 8
  • Philadelphia 76ers – March 29
  • Los Angeles Lakers – April 6
  • Los Angeles Clippers – April 7

The sports television market will continue to evolve over the course of the year. The NBA, MLB and NHL made deals with Diamond Sports Group that their teams would air games on the regional sports networks for regular seasons concluding in 2024, with their respective broadcast rights reverting to the leagues.

What happens beyond then is up in the air. Amazon threw Diamond a lifeline with an investment that allowed them to stream the games of some of those teams – primarily MLB with the Cleveland Guardians being a notable exception.

Amazon’s willingness to dip its toe in the water a few years ago by adding the NFL and “Thursday Night Football” to its programming portfolio has shown that big tech could have a role to play in this conversation. Will they continue to partner with Diamond beyond this year in an attempt to negotiate for those rights?

Additionally, traditional media players such as the Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox Sports, are not sitting on their collective backsides either as they announced a partnership for sports-based streaming service slated to launch in the fall.

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