Phoenix Suns to be first NBA franchise to deliver all games in HD

By Ken Kerschbaumer

The Phoenix Suns will take the financial plunge to produce every game in HD this year. The games will be shown on KUTP Phoenix and Fox Sports Network Arizona.

Rick Welts, Phoenix Suns president and CEO, told SVG that the time was right and with 71 consecutive sellouts under their belt it’s a great way to give those who can’t get tickets a better viewing experience. “This will make every broadcast a big event,” he says.

The big event is requiring a big leap. For the past two seasons the Suns have produced 10 games each year in HD. Welts says the reaction has been overwhelming and, even though there is no direct financial benefit it’s worth the incremental 30% hike in production costs. The Suns pick up all of the production costs for the games on KUTP and share them with FSNA.

“Revenue from HD advertising would be great but we aren’t counting on it,” he says. “Two years ago we couldn’t have done this. But now, as more and more mobile production facilities are in HD, it’s possible.”

In fact, the hardest part of the move wasn’t getting over sticker shock or finding production facilities. Instead it was the more arcane world of negotiations with cable operators and satellite distributors for an HD channel.

“This wouldn’t have done a lot of good if the people don’t have an opportunity to see the games,” says Welts.

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