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Sharks Leaving KFOX to Form Sharks Audio Network; Why Won’t Scrimmages Be Streamed?

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The San Jose Sharks are leaving terrestrial radio.

Yesterday, the Sharks announced the formation of the Sharks Audio Network, which will debut this Tuesday at 8 AM. This 24/7 audio feed will be available through the Sharks+SAP Center App and online at sjsharks.com. All Sharks and San Jose Barracuda games will be broadcast exclusively from the Sharks Audio Network, with Dan Rusanowsky, Scott Hannan, and Mark Smith providing the call for Sharks games.

Scott Emmert, Sharks’ vice president of communications, hopes the Sharks Audio Network will become “a one-stop shop for Bay Area hockey fans.”

The beginning of the Sharks Audio Network, however, ends the San Jose Sharks’ 20-year relationship with 98.5 KFOX.

“They’ve been a great partner for us for 20 years,” Emmert offered. “This is really more about, with the technology that exists, to be able to bring some quality, unique consistent coverage of Sharks hockey, our players, our personalities.

“While it will be a little bit of a change for some folks, we’re really expanding the amount of people that we’ll reach. It’s just going to be a matter of getting people comfortable with the new platform.”

Emmert noted that simulcasting Sharks games on both Sharks Audio Network and KFOX was considered.

“When you’re splitting the audience, it does make it tough, particularly when ratings come into play, when there’s market demographics, when you’re trying to entice advertisers to support, there is a little bit of a need to centralize a lot of this content.”

Instead, it’s full steam ahead with the Sharks Audio Network.

The Sharks Audio Network plans to offer exclusive programming with Doug Wilson and Bob Boughner, “Morning Tide” with Ted Ramey, player profiles, alumni check-ins, classic games, as well as interactive opportunities for fans.

Additional programming will be announced soon.

“We’re confident with the type of programming that we’re producing,” Emmert said, “for people who care and want to know about Sharks hockey, this is going to be a place to go.”

Why Won’t Sharks Scrimmages Be Streamed?

This news last week made San Jose Sharks fans happy.

This news yesterday made Sharks fans sad.

“We’re disappointed as well,” Emmert said. “It seems like a slam dunk.”

A variety of unprecedented factors conspired against the Sharks though.

They’re in an unfamiliar, non-NHL rink with very limited staff; there was a restriction with how many people the Sharks could bring to Arizona. The building itself has bandwidth issues. And because of COVID-19 restrictions, they’re unable to bring in outsiders to help out.

“There are so many different layers,” Emmert acknowledged, “that we typically would not have to be cognizant of.”

They do have one cameraman on site who will shoot the scrimmage, and they will make an extended highlight package for fans with the big goals, hits, and saves.

For the Sharks, it’s not as simple as holding up an iPhone and streaming — they’re an NHL team that is expected to deliver professional-level production. Much to their chagrin too, they just can’t pull that off in this case.

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