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SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Jazz owner Ryan Smith was just as confused as his team’s fans were when he saw it.
Apple CEO Tim Cook used the hashtag #TakeNote in a tweet and a small Apple logo appeared next to it. In years past, such a hashtag would have generated a mini Jazz logo. So what gives? Did Apple just steal Utah’s Twitter brand?
“Yeah, it was weird,” Smith said with a slight chuckle. “I saw that when you all did. We’ll look into it.”
It’s probably a stretch to call it a hashtag feud — the two tech businessmen are friends, after all, and Cook was even Smith’s guest at a Jazz game last October. But, unfortunately, for many Jazz fans, it also wasn’t a clever way of announcing a streaming deal with Apple TV.
Such welcomed news — or something similar — will have to wait. But for how long?
On Tuesday, on the eve of the Jazz’s home opener, Smith said that next season, fans will have more streaming options.
The Jazz began contract talks with potential new broadcasting partners this past summer as it entered the final year of the much-maligned contract with AT&T SportsNet that has aged about as good as a cup of milk left out for a week.
Regional Sports Networks, like AT&TSportsNet, have faded in relevance over the last decade. Dish Network refuses to put them on their service, and many don’t offer friendly streaming options. It’s been a headache for many fans, and one that Smith sees ending soon.
“The conversations are going fast and furious,” Smith said. “I think it’s an interesting time in all sports. I mean, we’re in a pretty unique time when it comes to these the traditional way of watching games and sports.”
He pointed to Amazon’s streaming-only Thursday Night Football broadcast and the Los Angeles Clippers’ recently announced ClipperVision. The latter of which may just be a potential model for the Jazz.
ClipperVision is a streaming service fans can subscribe to to watch Clippers games directly. There’s no cable or satellite required, or a more comprehensive streaming service. For $199 per season, Clippers fans can have access to 74 of the 82 regular season games.
“This is our channel,” Clippers owner Steve Ballmer told the LA Times. “Starting in the year 2022, would somebody really say, ‘Hey, I want to do a new cable channel’? No. They’d say, ‘I want to do a new streaming service.'”
So that’s just what the Clippers did. And it certainly sounds like the Jazz want to have something similar — or if not that, something that also comes with good streaming options.
“Streaming is super important,” Smith said. “I think it’s the future, and we all know that, but the most disruptive thing we can do is basically stop cable right now.”
Smith made it very clear that no matter what Utah’s new broadcasting deal ends up being, there will be more streaming options for fans of his team. Smith’s looking to create a better experience for those that are watching at home — something he said team CEO Danny Ainge, who doesn’t travel with the team, reminds him often as Ainge watches games from home.
“So we’re on it,” Smith said “We’re all hands on deck on it. But it’s not as simple as I think I would like it to be, to be honest with you.”
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