METAIRIE, LA (WVUE) - The New Orleans Saints announced Thursday the team has entered into a multiple year agreement for Raycom Media to produce and broadcast Saints preseason games.
Paul McTear, president and CEO of Raycom Media, and Saints and Pelicans owner Tom Benson said the move reinforces the commitment to the Gulf Coast region. The new relationship will connect the Saints with some of the most dominant stations in the Southeast.
"I am very pleased to make this announcement today. We have a very good working relationship with Raycom Media," Benson said. "Our preseason games are the first real introduction of our team to our fans and we are very pleased that Raycom Media will provide us an opportunity to reach so many of our fans not only in Louisiana but also throughout the Gulf South including Mississippi, Alabama and Florida."
Raycom Media took over management of WVUE/FOX 8 on Dec. 16, 2013 under a shared services agreement. FOX 8 remains locally owned under Benson's Louisiana Media Co.
Raycom stations cover 12.6% of U.S. television households and employ nearly 3,800 individuals in full and part-time positions.
"Raycom Media has a commitment to the communities we serve through our local stations throughout Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida of providing content with a strong local appeal," McTear said. "We are proud to partner with one of the area's most successful sports franchises, the New Orleans Saints, and to be able to offer their preseason games. It is a great opportunity for our stations, the communities they serve and the loyal fans of the New Orleans Saints."
The Saints are coming off of a 7-9 season. Teams on the 2015 schedule include division rivals Atlanta Falcons, Carolina Panthers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Dallas Cowboys, New York Giants, Detroit Lions, Jacksonville Jaguars and Tennessee Titans.
The Saints will announce television plans along with exact dates and times of all preseason games at a later date. The NFL preseason schedule has not been released. It is usually released before the NFL Draft. This year's draft is Thursday, April 30.
The NFL Hall of Fame game kicks off the 2015 preseason on Sunday, Aug. 9. The Minnesota Vikings play the Pittsburgh Steelers in Canton, OH.
The Saints preseason games will be broadcast on a network of Raycom Media owned or operated stations as well as other stations through syndication in Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida.
The partnership with the Saints adds to Raycom's strong sports presence that serves 53 television stations in 18 states. Raycom owns Raycom Sports, Tupelo-Honey Productions and regional cable and syndication television, and digital media rights to Atlantic Coast Conference Athletics.