It's tapping its Local Media leader Brian Lawlor to lead the new unit as president. Lawlor will continue running Local Media as Scripps looks at next steps for division leadership.
The news follows Scripps' 2021 acquisition of ION Media, and it leans on the company's 61 local stations along with the fifth-largest national broadcast viewership.
And it will offer leagues a local broadcast alternative to regional sports nets like those at Sinclair Broadcast Group (NASDAQ:SBGI).
Sports is a critical TV content genre but the marketplace has become "extremely fragmented," Lawlor said. "Between our vast number of local stations and ION, a national network that can be customized in many markets, we believe Scripps is positioned to widely showcase leagues and players that are currently limited by aging distribution deals."
The company may not bid on the top national sports properties, but "Scripps is working with the leagues and teams that recognize the role our assets can play in increasing reach and visibility for audience engagement," CEO Adam Symson said.
Scripps closed its $2.65B deal for ION Media in January 2021, using it as a key piece of a strategy to build a national TV network business.