When the Phoenix Suns and new owner Mat Ishbia announced that they were bidding adieu to Bally Sports Arizona, the news was mostly met with positive reactions. The BSAZ experience, especially for those who utilized the streaming service, had been subpar for quite some time. The app froze often and customer service was helpless in solving the viewer experience.
Bally’s graphics and presentation were average, and why not many cared about how the game was presented, it does not negate the fact that it lacked personality or connectivity. Bally Sports owns and operates 19 networks throughout the country and is available in 45 states, so it makes sense for them to create cookie-cutter graphics and presentations that are duplicatable. You can’t fault them for that.
Ishbia, in an effort to make the Phoenix Suns and Phoenix Mercury more accessible to the local market, opted this summer to move away from Diamond Sports Group and Bally Sports and on to local television, selecting Gray Television and KTVK as the primary source to access his teams. “Making Suns and Mercury games available to all our fans across the state, for free, was extremely important to us,” Suns team owner Mat Ishbia said. “It was a major priority and we got it done for our fans. We are excited about this for our fans.”
On Sunday we received our first taste of Suns basketball on KTVK. And it was delicious.
After absorbing our first game on AZ Family, you can see and feel what it’s like to have a local company focused on presenting local sports. From the moment the broadcast began, we were provided with beautiful cutaways of the desert and a score bug that is not overwhelming on the bottom of the screen. What we witnessed was masterfully nostalgic.
The introduction reminded many of us 35+er’s of when the Suns were last on the local television circuit. Using music similar to that of UPN45’s presentation of yore, we were greeted to the new season of Suns basketball, and the Mat Ishbia era began with a beautifully rendered intro.
THEY BROUGHT BACK THE UPN45 SUNS THEME pic.twitter.com/LEHE8P7JI7— Cage (@ridiculouscage) October 8, 2023
Some might not care, but it’s the little things, right? If you take care of the little things, the big things will take care of themselves. Ishbia has focused on those little things since his arrival in Phoenix this past February and his moves continue to resonate with the fanbase.
Once that introduction was played, Suns’ Twitter responded accordingly.
Big A+ for the Suns TV crew. Graphics were crisp. Score bug is big enough but doesn’t eat up the bottom of the screen. Desert touches are nice on transitions. Classic music coming back is spectacular. https://t.co/2tE2igykTw— Espo (@Espo) October 8, 2023
This is the music I want played as my casket is lowered into my grave— Will Novak (@WillNovak13) October 8, 2023
They pulling at the locals hearts.— KB (@KevinCBryant2) October 8, 2023
This intro goes so hard— Corbin Barrolls (@ThomasR42073577) October 8, 2023
The fact that they kept Tom Chambers, Tom Leander, Kevin Ray, and Eddie Johnson on the broadcast, knowing that Ann Meyers Drysdale will step and with the color analyst as well, is not lost on us. They are the voices that have brought us Suns basketball for years, providing insight on Suns’ basketball going back to when Deandre Ayton’s jersey number was higher than team wins.
Again, not breaking news. Not something that will change the world. But as a Suns fan, it gives you the feels. It makes you appreciate what Ishbia has done with this franchise. Every aspect of what has occurred since he arrived has been a win, from roster construction to making the Suns available to the masses locally, and everything in between.
For those of us who have watched Suns basketball for 30+ years, it was nice to feel a little nostalgic. That music brings us back to days of yore and hopefully it will be the soundtrack that we will reference when we talk about the first ever championship in Phoenix.
Kudos to the KTVK group for making that intro.