The Indianapolis Colts and Tribune Broadcasting this week announced a multiyear agreement making WXIN-TV Fox 59 and WTTV-TV Channel 4 the exclusive Colts broadcast partners.
Beginning next season, all Colts pre-season games will be broadcast on either WXIN-TV or WTTV-TV. In addition, Colts-produced programs such as “The Coaches Show with Chuck Pagano” and “Colts Up Close” will air on WXIN-TV and WTTV-TV. Both channels are owned by Tribune Broadcasting.
Previously, the team’s pre-season games and shows aired on sister stations WNDY-TV Channel 23 and WISH-TV Channel 8.
The move coincides with the CBS network's local affiliation moving from WISH-TV Channel 8 to WTTV on Jan. 1. That change means most of the Colts and other NFL games featuring AFC teams will air on WTTV next season as part of CBS’ contract with the NFL.
In addition to the broadcast partnership agreement, WXIN-TV and WTTV-TV will receive premium Lucas Oil Field branding exposure and various other team marketing assets including radio, print, digital and social media.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but NFL teams typically buy TV time for their pre-season games and ancillary shows. Their sales departments then sell advertising spots and keep the revenue. In years past, Colts officials have told IBJ that they’ve brought in enough money from pre-season games and their two shows to make the broadcasts profitable.
This year, about 165,000 households in central Indiana tuned in to watch Colts pre-season games, while the Pagano show attracted about 33,000 households per episode and "Colts Up Close" about 22,000, according to New York-based Nielsen Media Research.
“For many years when the Colts first came to town, we broadcast our pre-season games on WTTV, and now we are back,” said Colts Senior Vice President of Sponsorship Sales Jay Souers. “The combination of coverage from WTTV and Fox 59 will also provide excellent exposure for our community relations and marketing efforts.”
WXIN, as part of Fox’s national contract with the NFL, currently airs the NFC games in the Indianapolis market.
“The Indianapolis Colts games consistently deliver the highest television audiences in central Indiana,” said Paul Rennie, vice president and general manager of WXIN and WTTV.
The Colts and the WXIN and WTTV news teams also will be partnering on several community initiatives and projects to benefit various community organizations, Rennie added.