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Five Cleveland Cavaliers games to air on free broadcast TV

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(Stock image)

Gray Television says it has reached a deal with the National Basketball Association (NBA) and the Cleveland Cavaliers to offer five games available on its CW affiliate in that market.

Starting in early March, the games will air on WUAB (Channel 43), which is available on free-to-air broadcast television, cable, Dish Network and DirecTV.

“We are excited to announce that all fans of the Cavaliers will be able to watch five games for free on broadcast television,” Matt Moran, the Senior Vice President of Gray Television, said in a statement. “This is a great opportunity for WUAB 43 the CW and Gray Television to collaborate with the Cavs to provide the team’s devoted fans with complete access to the games no matter how they watch TV.”

The five games that will air on WUAB are:

  • March 3: vs. Boston Celtics
  • March 8: vs. Minnesota Timberwolves
  • March 29: vs. Philadelphia 76ers
  • April 6: at Los Angeles Lakers
  • April 7: at Los Angeles Clippers

The local telecast rights to Cleveland Cavaliers games are held by Sinclair Broadcast Group’s sports subsidiary Diamond Sports, which airs the games on Bally Sports Ohio. Diamond Sports filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last March, and while the operation has dropped some of its telecast deals with pro sports leagues, Diamond Sports and the Cleveland Cavaliers reaffirmed their broadcast agreement through the end of the current season.

The announcement released on Tuesday suggests Bally Sports will continue producing the Cleveland Cavaliers games that will air on WUAB: John Michael will continue to call play-by-play for all Cavs games on Bally Sports Ohio and the games distributed over-the-air through Gray, accompanied by analysts Austin Carr and Brad Daugherty, the company said.

It will be the first time in about five years that Cleveland Cavaliers games have aired on free television in the Cleveland market. WUAB previously served as the broadcast partner for the team until the rights moved over the Bally Sports Ohio in 2019.

“The Cavaliers and WUAB 43 have had a broadcasting partnership dating back over 50 years,” David Hughes, the General Manager at WUAB, said on Tuesday. “We couldn’t be happier to have the Cavs back on Channel 43 for the first time since 2019.”

“We are constantly evaluating every available opportunity to create the greatest experience for all fans of Cavaliers Basketball. Given the current, dynamic media landscape, we have prioritized how we can expand our audience in every way possible,” said Nic Barlage, Cleveland Cavaliers, Rock Entertainment Group, and Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse CEO. “This partnership with Gray allows us to test out a new model of distribution that has the potential to reach more of our fans across our region.”

The Cleveland Cavaliers deal is at least the second sports telecast arrangement inked between Gray Television and a major professional sports league over the past year. Last April, Gray Television said it would bring Phoenix Suns games to KTVK (Channel 3) and other stations in the Phoenix market after those games moved from Bally Sports Arizona.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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