Home games on for Hawks

Hawks also looking for over-the-air broadcast partner

The Chicago Blackhawks and Comcast SportsNet held a press conference yesterday to announce the home-game schedule that will air on the regional sports net. Click here to view the official press release and the schedule.

The first of these games airs this Sunday, with the Hawks hosting the Detroit Red Wings at 6 p.m.

As you recall, new chairman Rocky Wirtz – son of late owner Bill Wirtz, reversed the long-time policy his father instituted in the 1950’s on not televising home games.

Meanwhile, it is being reported that the Blackhawks are looking for an over-the-air broadcast partner to air a small package of games. If the Hawks can land a deal, it will mark the first time since 1980 that the Hawks air their games on a local broadcast TV outlet on a regular basis.

WGN-TV aired road games in the 1970’s, and were briefly in discussions to carry the team’s games during their Stanley Cup run in 1992. WSNS-TV (now a Telemundo affiliate) then took a shot at carrying those Hawks games, from 1978-80.

The package is reportedly being pitched to Fox-owned My Network TV affiliate WPWR-TV and Weigel-owned independent WCIU-TV.

WCIU already airs Bulls, Cubs, and White Sox games produced by WGN, which holds the local over-the-air broadcast rights. WCIU also carried Chicago Wolves minor-league hockey games on Saturday nights from 1994-96.

However, WPWR has been more aggressive acquiring sports product by carrying two Chicago Fire soccer games, airing IHSA football and basketball playoff games (and will do so again this season), and acquiring the local broadcast rights to air the Chicago Bears-Washington Redskins game that’s airing on the barely-distributed NFL Network on Dec. 6.

This would actually buck a trend going on with many NHL teams, who left local broadcasters behind and have moved their games to cable exclusively. Teams that have done this in the past decade include the Boston Bruins, Calgary Flames, Colorado Avalanche, San Jose Sharks, and Los Angeles Kings.

There are still some teams that have a broadcast/cable hybrid, including the Dallas Stars, who have games on both Fox Sports Net Southwest and My Network TV affiliate KDFI-TV, which are owned by Fox. The Minnesota Wild has games on FSN North and Hubbard’s Minneapolis station, KSTC-TV.

updated 12:57 a.m. on 2007-12-15 (to add information that was recently discovered. Yeah, I know it’s been a month since this was posted…)