Vikings announce preseason deal with FOX 9

Vikings preseason games will be carried on FOX 9 under a new partnership.

The Minnesota Vikings will have a new television partnership for their preseason games in 2015, as the team announced Friday that it will partner with KMSP FOX 9 to televise the team’s final four preseason games.

Unlike regular-season games, which are assigned to networks based on the NFL’s national TV contracts, preseason games are assigned based on a bidding process between local affiliates. For the last several years, the Vikings’ preseason games have been carried on KARE 11, the NBC affiliate in the Twin Cities.

Vikings Executive Vice President & Chief Marketing Officer Steve LaCroix said that the Vikings teaming up with FOX 9 is a good fit, since the team already has 12 of its regular-season games this year being aired on FOX, which owns the rights to NFC games.

“With 16 of the Vikings’ 21 games in 2015 broadcast on FOX, this is a natural partnership,” LaCroix said. “We are thrilled to move forward with KMSP to continue bringing exclusive and unique content to Vikings fans.

The Vikings will have five preseason games, but the first one will be the Hall of Fame Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which will be carried nationally by NBC and locally by KARE 11. The way the broadcast schedules are determined is based on the formula that all Vikings road games are on FOX, home games against AFC opponents are on CBS and home games against NFC teams are on FOX.

In all, 12 regular-season games are scheduled to be played on FOX. The season opener at San Francisco will be carried on ESPN, the Sept. 27 game vs. San Diego and the Oct. 18 game vs. Kansas City will be carried on CBS and the Dec. 10 game at Arizona will carried on NFL Network. Other games late in the season, if the Vikings are a playoff contender, are subject to being flexed out to NBC for Sunday Night Football. But, as things currently stand, aside from the games noted, the other 12 will be aired on FOX.

KMSP FOX 9 General Manager Sheila Oliver said the affiliate is excited to add the preseason games and pregame shows produced by the Vikings Entertainment Network to be part of KMSP programming.

“All of us at FOX 9 are excited to be the official home of the Minnesota Vikings,” Oliver said. “There’s never been a better time to be associated with the team. This partnership gives us the opportunity to create the ultimate fan experience, carry exclusive Vikings shows around our FOX NFL network and news programming as well as in high-profile slots of WFTC (a sister station of FOX 9).”

As part of the agreement, FOX 9 will air three Vikings-produced programs, starting this Sunday with a special edition of “Vikings: Beyond the Gridiron,” a documentary-style program that offers rare, behind-the-scenes insight to the team where cameras are typically not allowed.

The in-house Vikings programming that will run during the season will include “Beyond the Gridiron” at 11 p.m. Sundays on KMSP and 10 p.m. Friday on WFTC. In addition, KMSP will air “Vikings GamePlan,” hosted by play-by-play man Paul Allen – a show that features interviews with players and head coach Mike Zimmer, game film review and analysis. “GamePlan” will air at 9:30 a.m. Sundays. WFTC will also air the show “Vikings Connected” hosted by former Viking Ben Leber and Erin Newburg at 10 p.m. Saturdays.

FOX owns 28 stations in 17 markets nationwide, including New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Dallas, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Houston, as well as sports networks and local stations in Minneapolis, Phoenix, Orlando and Charlotte.

With the Vikings looking to be a hot commodity in 2015, it would seem to make sense that the network that will be broadcasting most of its Sunday games and, if they advance, their playoff games, will also be the spot to find their final four preseason games.

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