NHL’s Golden Knights sign first local rights partner

Regional sports broadcaster Root Sports has been named as the official television home of newly-formed NHL ice hockey franchise the Vegas Golden Knights through an agreement between the club and the AT&T Sports Networks division of US telecommunications company AT&T.

Root Sports Rocky Mountain will hold exclusive regional rights to regular-season games in a deal that will commence with the Golden Knights’ debut campaign in 2017-18. The length of the agreement was not disclosed.

The network will also have the opportunity to air pre-season games and end-of-season play-off matches. Fixtures will be produced in high definition and will feature a pre- and post-game show, subject to live event conflicts.

Root Sports will also provide other hockey-related programming from the 2018-19 season onwards.

As well as Nevada, the Golden Knights’ authorised distribution territory covers the entire states of Montana, Idaho, Wyoming and Utah, and select areas of Arizona and California.

Root Sports’ existing distribution already covers the team’s territory, with the exception of Nevada and select areas of Arizona and California. The agreement with the Golden Knights will expand Root Sports Rocky Mountain’s footprint to mirror the team’s authorised territory in the three states.

The Golden Knights became official members of the NHL in March after completing the expansion franchise transaction. Billionaire businessman Bill Foley was awarded the NHL’s 31st franchise in June 2016, with the ice hockey league’s board having voted unanimously to take a team to Las Vegas.

The Golden Knights will become the first professional sports team in the resort city primarily known for its gambling industry. The team will compete in the NHL’s Pacific Division from the 2017-18 season.