ORLANDO, FL – It appears that halfway through its second season in the ECHL, the Orlando Solar Bears are ready for their close-up.
Tuesday afternoon, the Solar Bears announced that they have reached an agreement with WKMG Local 6, the CBS affiliate in Orlando, to air three Solar Bears games this season on its primary channel.
Solar Bears hockey will debut on network television in primetime on Saturday, December 28, when the Florida Everblades come to the Amway Center to face Orlando at 7 p.m. Two additional games will air between mid-February and mid-April with those dates still to be determined.
The broadcasts will be simulcast on Local 6, the Solar Bears IHeart Radio channel (www.iheartsolarbears.com) and the ECHL’s America One internet television network.
“We are proud to partner with Local 6 WKMG and (station vice president and general manager) Skip Valet’s team to broadcast Solar Bears hockey which will be available to over 1.5 million households,” Solar Bears Managing Partner and President/CEO Jason Siegel said in the announcement. “It presents a tremendous opportunity to extend the Solar Bears brand throughout Central Florida.”
The venture with the Solar Bears is the second such agreement that WKMG has entered into in 2013. During this past summer, the station aired games played by the Arena Football League’s Orlando Predators on its primary and digital channels.
“It seemed like a natural fit for Local 6,” Valet said. “We are dedicated to offering Central Florida quality local programming. It is also an opportunity to bring the Solar Bears games to an all new audience. We are proud to be the Official Station of the Solar Bears.”
The broadcast team will include Solar Bears play-by-play announcer Bob Mills alongside Local 6 Sports Director Dave Pingalore in the booth. Solar Bears fan may remember that Pingalore participated in the team’s inaugural free agent tryout camp and training camp as part of the station’s coverage of the team last season.
Solar Bears Entertainment Coordinator Sam Piotrowski will provide interviews and rink side reports during the game. Local 6 weekend sports anchor Jamie Seh will have interviews and segments with Solar Bears players during both intermissions in each game. Production of the between periods segments began during the last homestand.
During the IHL incarnation of the Solar Bears, select games were aired on the Sunshine Network (now Sun Sports/Fox Sports Florida) with current Orlando Magic and Tampa Bay Lightning host and in-game reporter Paul Kennedy behind the microphone.
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