Fox Sports play-by-play announcer Joel Meyers, left, and color analyst Antonio Daniels tape a pregame segment from the empty Smoothie King Center in New Orleans Sunday, Aug. 1, 2020, as they cover the New Orleans Pelicans game against the Los Angeles Clippers, which was being played at the NBA ÔbubbleÕ near Orlando, Fla., due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The New Orleans Pelicans will face the Denver Nuggets in the middle of a difficult five-game road trip next month. Pelicans fans who want to watch their team take on the reigning champions will be able to — as long as they have access to a TV with an antenna.

The Jan. 12 meeting between the Pelicans and Nuggets is the first of 10 games that will be broadcast locally on WVUE-TV Fox 8 and other Gray Television-owned stations throughout the Gulf South over the next four months. 

The Pelicans, who were one of the NBA teams that secured the rights to test the waters with an over-the-air partner in the Bally Sports bankruptcy hearing, have finalized nine of the 10 games that will air on Gray Television stations.

Those games are:

  • Jan. 12: New Orleans Pelicans at Denver Nuggets, 8 p.m.
  • Jan. 19: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Phoenix Suns, 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 9: New Orleans Pelicans at Los Angeles Lakers, 9:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 27: New Orleans Pelicans at New York Knicks, 6:30 p.m.
  • March 1: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m.
  • March 22: New Orleans Pelicans at Miami Heat, 7 p.m.
  • March 26: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, 7 p.m.
  • April 7: New Orleans Pelicans at Phoenix Suns, 5 p.m.
  • April 12: New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors, 9 p.m.

The deal will allow the Pelicans to vastly increase their TV audience in the final half of the 2023-24 season. Under the current agreement with Bally Sports, the Pelicans reach approximately 700,000 viewers. The deal with Gray will allow the team to reach around 7 million viewers.

The 10 games that Gray gets will allow Pelicans fans in three different states — Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama — to watch New Orleans play on a free over-the-air signal. In Louisiana, the Gray broadcast games will be shown in Baton Rouge, Shreveport, Lake Charles, Monroe and Alexandria; in Mississippi, they will be shown in Biloxi, Jackson and Hattiesburg; and in Alabama, they will be shown in Mobile.

The production team the Pelicans work with to broadcast games on Bally Sports will not change when the team shows games on Gray stations. The broadcast trio of play-by-play voice Joel Meyers, color commentator Antonio Daniels and sideline reporter Jennifer Hale will not change, either. Meyers, Daniels and Hale will broadcast every Pelicans game that is not an exclusive national TV game for the remainder of this season, whether the game is on Bally Sports or on a Gray station.

The 10 Gray games will not be shown on Bally Sports. 

Gray Television owns stations in 113 markets throughout the U.S. Last summer, the Phoenix Suns announced that they were ending their partnership with Bally Sports and would instead show their games over-the-air on Gray-owned stations throughout Arizona. As regional sports networks continue to struggle, more NBA teams likely will follow suit. 

Once this season concludes, all of the NBA teams that are currently partnered with Bally Sports will get their local rights back and be able to explore other partnerships.

The Pelicans, who are owned by Gayle Benson, had deep ties with Fox 8 before working through the details of their 10-game arrangement for this season. The late Tom Benson owned Fox 8 until 2017, when he sold his majority stake in it.

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