The Storm announced this morning a partnership with KING 5 to broadcast Storm Basketball during 2010. Six games will air on KONG TV and Universal Sports, beginning with Sunday’s season opener vs. Los Angeles. Storm CEO Karen Bryant took some time to chat about what the deal means to the Storm organization.
What’s your reaction to announcing this new television deal with KING 5?
We are really excited about our new television deal. We have spent the last seven or eight months having conversations with various carriers in the marketplace and are thrilled that we’ve landed at the Belo family. At least six of our games will be aired on KONG and Universal Sports. We’re still working on the details for the away schedule, but are really excited about landing with a family of stations that reaches the Northwest in an unprecedented way and, equally importantly, excited about partnering with an organization that is going to help us promote Storm Basketball in a much broader and deeper way than we’ve been able to.
How important was expanding the Storm’s television presence?
We’ve talked a lot the last couple of years with our ownership group and the staff here about the importance of just continuing to build exposure for Storm Basketball, operating on the notion that we think there are a lot of future Storm fans – die-hard Storm fans – who have yet to really appreciate the quality of the game and the quality of the atmosphere at KeyArena for Storm Basketball. There is no greater medium to really illustrate both of those points than television. As we looked at what our audience development strategy was over the next few years, our ability to televise locally our marquee games for the regular season was an important priority for us.
What role did fans’ desire to see more games on television play?
Feedback from our fans, particularly our Season Ticket Holders, is always really important. We take great pride in not only being accessible but also making sure we are responsive to our fans. We can’t always give them everything they want, but we definitely strive to and try to make sure that line of communication is open. We’d heard a lot over the years about fans wanting us to televise more games, and I know our Season Ticket Holders particularly would love to see us televise more away games so they can watch the Storm when they’re on the road. At this point, we’re only announcing our home schedule, but in the coming weeks as we work through some details with some of the other markets, we’ll announce the full schedule. But the great news is last year we launched LiveAccess, so fans are able to watch games through that medium as well.
What else makes this television deal different than the Storm’s past ones?
In addition to announcing our new partnership with Belo, we’re also announcing that for the first time in franchise history, the Storm is actually managing and controlling the production and content of the game. We’ve hired Bill Kaczaraba and First Team Media. Bill was the former vice president of content for Fox Sports Northwest, so I’m very familiar with Bill personally and he’s also very familiar with Storm Basketball at KeyArena. We’ve hired somebody in the market who has deep knowledge, a really impressive resume, and is truly an expert in what he does. We’ve gone out and hired the best, and we think Storm games are going to be among the best in the WNBA, for sure.