When the fourth season of the Jacksonville Sharks begins in March, more people will be watching their games.
Channel 4 will televise five of the Sharks home games this year, beginning with the game vs. the New Orleans VooDoo on Friday, April 12. Some away games will also be televised by The Local Station in conjunction with the CBS Sports Network.
The team and station have reached a four-year agreement that will make WJXT the local broadcast home of Sharks football through the 2016 season.
"The Sharks organization is extremely excited to partner with WJXT," Sharks managing partner Jeff Bouchy said. "Local broadcasts are essential to our corporate partners and our fans, and we look forward to making our brand part of the Channel 4 family."
"I'm thrilled to welcome the Sharks to Channel 4," WJXT Vice President/General Manager Bob Ellis said. "Football is king in Jacksonville and the Sharks are a championship football team. They're also a first-class organization providing tremendous entertainment value to their fans. We can't wait to make their team a part of our team."
The Sharks are part of the Arena Football League and play their home games in the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
The team has won the South Division title each of their three seasons. They won the American Conference Championship game in 2011 and made it back to the title game last year but lost to the Philadelphia Soul.
The games are faster paced than NFL games.
"It's the combination of a football game and Kiss concert," Bouchy said. "When people leave the Arena, they don't know what the heck happened, they just know they had a lot of fun."
The full home broadcast schedule is as follows:
Friday, April 12 vs. New Orleans VooDoo (8 p.m.)
Saturday, May 4 vs. Arizona Rattlers (7 p.m.)
Saturday, June 1 vs. Pittsburgh Power (7 p.m.)
Saturday, June 22 vs. Cleveland Gladiators (7 p.m.)
Saturday, July 27 vs. Tampa Bay Storm (7 p.m.)
In addition to televising the home games, Channel 4 sports department will produce a Jacksonville Sharks program, "Sharks Football Weekly," that will air each Friday night of the season at 11:15.
Each week, fans will get an inside look at the state of the Sharks with news, analysis, and in-depth interviews with Head Coach Les Moss and other Sharks players and coaches.
In the coming weeks, the Sharks and WJXT will announce the play-by-play commentator, in-game analyst and sideline reporter who will make up the broadcast team during the organizations' first year of partnership.