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ROOT SPORTS deal makes Golden Knights ‘team of the Rockies’

Updated May 24, 2017 - 6:16 am

For now, Bill Foley will settle for being the majority owner of what he calls “the team of the Rockies.” But he refuses to limit his vision.

What he really wants is for his Golden Knights to be “the world’s NHL team.”

“We get 42 million visitors a year in Las Vegas,” Foley said Tuesday at the Stratosphere, where the team officially announced its TV deal with ROOT SPORTS. “We can have fans in China, in India, in Europe, in Russia. We really can be the world’s team.”

When the NHL granted Foley his expansion team last June, with it came certain territorial rights for TV. Foley, who owns two homes in Montana, wanted to cover the entire territory.

In ROOT Rocky Mountain, he found a carrier that provides the coverage he was seeking — Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, Montana and Northeastern Nevada.

The Golden Knights also have territorial rights in Western Arizona and the eastern part of San Bernardino and Kern counties in California. ROOT does not service Arizona or California.

Still, he got what he was looking for. Except for in Las Vegas. For the moment.

With the ROOT deal done, AT&T, ROOT’s parent company, will enter in negotiations with Cox Cable and CenturyLink, which owns Prism TV, to put the Knights on their systems. DirecTV customers in Southern Nevada receive ROOT Rocky Mountain.

The team won’t be involved in negotiations with Cox or CenturyLink.

“I can’t imagine Cox not doing business with AT&T,” Foley said.

Team president Kerry Bubolz said: “Cox is a great partner of ours, and I have no doubt we’ll be on Cox.”

Patrick Crumb, the president of AT&T Sports Networks, said in a statement released by the team: “Working with a sports team from its inception is an incredible opportunity, and we welcome the responsibilities and challenges that come along with it.”

A Cox spokesman issued the following statement: “Cox provides news, sports and entertainment content that appeals to a wide range of audiences. At this time, we have not been contacted by ROOT SPORTS, but we review new additions to our channel lineup on an ongoing basis.”

The multiyear deal was reported Monday by the Review-Journal. Foley would not reveal financial details, but said the arrangement was “in eight figures” and both sides were satisfied.

“It’s a fair and equitable deal,” he said. “It satisfies both parties, and it is what we projected in our operating budget.”

Foley said it was important to find the right carrier first, then match it with the local cable systems. The team hopes to extend its coverage throughout Nevada. But that will be determined by AT&T and its ability to negotiate with the cable systems in those areas.

In Utah, some Golden Knights games might be pre-empted by the NBA’s Utah Jazz. The deal also means that Los Angeles Kings and Anaheim Ducks games will be blacked out in Las Vegas. Their games had been televised for years on Cox via Fox Sports West and Prime Ticket.

More Golden Knights: Follow all of our Golden Knights coverage online at reviewjournal.com/GoldenKnights and @HockeyinVegas on Twitter.

Contact Steve Carp at scarp@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2913. Follow @stevecarprj on Twitter.

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