SBD/18/Sports Media

PATRIOTS HEAD TO FM DIAL IN "MOST LUCRATIVE" NFL RADIO DEAL

     The Patriots announced that will leave WBZ-AM radio next
season and shift their broadcasts to "rock 'n roll WBCN," marking
the first time in the team's 35 years that play-by-play will be
on the FM dial.  Although no figures were announced, WBCN's
owner, Infinity Broadcasting reportedly will pay the Pats $3.5M
next season and $10.5M over the next three years, "the most
lucrative package" in the NFL.  WBZ is paying the team $1.85M
this season.  WBZ offered close to $2M, as did American Radio
Systems on behalf of WEEI.  WBCN GM Tony Beradini: "Yes, it is a
lot of money, but I believe that three years from now this deal
is going to look like a bargain."  The fact that all Pats games
are expected to be on TV in the foreseeable future because of
home sellouts "handicaps radio sales."  On the positive side, the
fact that the team also owns Foxboro Stadium provides
merchandising possibilities, "linking sponsors to signage in the
stadium" (Jack Craig, BOSTON GLOBE, 11/18).  The Pats are
Infinity's fifth NFL team, which includes the Cowboys, Eagles,
Buccaneers and Jets.  It also has the Mets, Rangers, 76ers and
Flyers, and is looking to establish a sports-marketing network,
"offering advertisers key spots in multiple markets with better
rates than they could get in single-station deals" (Jim Baker,
BOSTON HERALD, 11/18).
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