Fox Sports, having inked recent deals with a trio of major distributors, will present the New Orleans Hornets' season-opener against the San Antonio Spurs on Halloween to some 1.5 million sports fans in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.
The Hornets, featuring the top pick in the 2012 pro basketball draft, Anthony Davis, and Fox earlier this year reached a long-term television rights agreement establishing Fox Sports New Orleans as the new local television home of the NBA club.
Prior to the agreement, Hornets telecasts, which had been on Cox Sports Television over the past decade, were available to roughly 700,000 homes in Louisiana through carriage on the MSO; tiered positioning on Charter systems for a $5 monthly fee; and some distribution via Dish Network within the club’s TV territory.
In addition to Cox, the programmer -- Fox Sports Southwest has been the service reaching fans in Louisiana, but the rechristening to Fox Sports New Orleans will coincide with the start of the NBA season on Oct. 31 -- has reached a broader deal with Dish, as well as agreements with DirecTV and AT&T U-verse. The nation’s leading DBS provider and the telco previously didn’t have affiliate agreements with Cox Sports Television.
Moreover, negotiations continue with Charter, which serves more than a quarter of the RSN’s territory. Fox officials expressed optimism that a deal could be struck before the beginning of the 2012-13 NBA season.
All told, Fox Sports New Orleans will televise 75 regular-season Hornets games this season.