Scott D. Pierce: Utah Blaze are back in business with a TV deal, too

Published: Friday, Feb. 19 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

These days, you've pretty much got to have a TV deal if you want your professional sports team to be taken seriously. And the reconstituted Utah Blaze of the reconstituted Arena Football League have a TV deal.

Not a particularly huge TV deal, but a TV deal nonetheless.

The team has signed a pact with sister stations KTVX-Ch. 4 and KUCW-Ch. 30 that includes telecasts of all eight home games on Ch. 30. It's part of a larger deal that includes promotion and marketing.

You know, the kind of thing that ought to make you wonder if the "news" about the Blaze you're getting on Ch. 4 is actually news or just part a bit of advertising.

Games will also be replayed Sundays at noon on KTVX's digital Channel 4.2, which now carries programming from the fledgling Untamed Sports TV network.

It's somewhat bigger news — at least for the league — that it has a national outlet. The NFL Network will air an AFL game-of-the-week on Fridays at 6 p.m MT and will also carry all the playoff games and the ArenaBowl.

The Blaze are scheduled to appear on the NFL Network twice — at Chicago on April 25 and at Milwaukee on May 14.

The NFL network is available in about 55 million homes, which is about 48 percent of the TV-equipped homes in America.

So if you've got the channel in your cable or satellite lineup, you'll be able to see 10 or 16 regular-season Blaze games this season — if you're so inclined.

RSL ON TV: The defending MLS Cup champions will once again have all of their games televised this year. And, while there are a few things in flux at the moment, it looks like they'll be available to more viewers than they were in 2009.

Seven Real Salt Lake matches are currently scheduled on national networks, and there will be more. Four regular-season MLS matchups will be on ESPN2; three will air on the Fox Soccer Channel.

(ESPN2 is available in about 97 million homes; FSC in about 35 million homes.)

ESPN2 picked up only two RSL games last season. But Real wasn't the defending champion last year.

RSL will also play at least six games in the 2010-11 CONCACAF Champions League, and FSC has the rights to those games.

When and where those games will be played has yet to be determined. But there will be three at home and three away.

Fans can count on any games not on ESPN2 or FSC being on local TV. The schedule is not finalized, but a couple will be on the main KUTV-Ch. 2; the rest will be on KUTV's sister station KUSG/digital Ch. 2.2.

Since last season, Ch. 2.2 has been added to Dish Network, and other pending satellite and cable deals could make the channel available to most Utahns soon.

e-mail: pierce@desnews.com

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