The fallout from the decline of RSNs has already began as pro teams in two markets have already made the decision to air their game on local over-the-air channels. Following the Phoenix Suns' and Mercury's lead were the Las Vegas Golden Knights and Las Vegas Aces who decided to air their games on local KMCC-TV, and also to the following markets in Idaho (Boise, Idaho Falls, Twin Falls), Montana (Billings, Butte-Bozeman, Glendive, Great Falls, Helena, Missoula), Utah (Salt Lake City), Wyoming (Casper-Riverton, Cheyenne-Scottsbluff) and Northern Nevada (Reno).
More moves like these seem to be coming, but for now, Las Vegas and Phoenix are the only pro cities to make this bold move. Of course, with KMCC jumping into the sports broadcasting business, they could make a move for UNLV and Nevada games.
The Mountain West's current TV deal is unique compared to other Group of Five conferences as any games not picked up by the conference's national TV partners, CBS and Fox, are either aired online on the Mountain West Network, or aired on linear TV on RSNs or local channels.
Last year, two UNLV and three Nevada games, were aired on local Nevada channels. Since one of the games was the Freemont Cannon game, this made a total of four games. Additionally, Nevada Sports Net also simulcasted Spectrum Sports Hawaii's feed of the Nevada-Hawaii game on October 15th.
So how does Hawaii fit into this Las Vegas TV picture? The quirkiest of college football fans know that Hawaii and UNLV have a seemingly random rivalry game where they play for a giant pineapple. Yet, this rivalry has strong roots as Las Vegas has long been considered Hawaii's "Ninth Island." as over 50,000 Hawaiians reside in Sin City.
UNLV and Nevada both have non-nationally-televised games picked up by local over-the-air sports networks, with the Silver State Sports Network picking up Rebels' games and Nevada Sports Net picking up Wolf Pack games. As a result, KMCC will likely have no college football coverage to air during the NHL offseason.
Catering to Las Vegas' strong Hawaiian population and ties would be a strong counter to UNLV and Nevada's locally-televised games. Hawaii's well-known, midnight Eastern/ 9 PM Pacific time slot for its home games would give KMCC the rights to an exclusive time slot each week, an advantage that neither Nevada Sports Net or The Silver State Sports and Entertainment Network have.
The best part in all this is the broadcasts would not even have to be produced by KMCC, but rather redistributed to the station. As I mentioned earlier, the Nevada Sports Network redistributed the Spectrum Sports Hawaii broadcast of the 2022 Nevada-Hawaii game and KMCC can easily do the same for Hawaii home games. Redistributing broadcasts saves KMCC immense amounts of money that the station can use to optimize the quality of its Las Vegas Golden Knights' and Aces' broadcasts.
The recent KMCC news could potentially make it a great time to be a college football fan in Nevada, with increased accessibility to Mountain West games. KMCC getting into the "Hawaii After Dark" action is a no-brainer for the emerging over-the-air sports network.