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ESPN STEPS UP TO THE PLATE WITH MLB RADIO AGREEMENT
Published September 19, 1997
MLB and ESPN Radio reached a five-year agreement giving ESPN Radio exclusive domestic regular- and post-season broadcast rights. ESPN Radio is broadcast across the U.S. by ABC Radio Networks. The deal includes coverage of all post-season games; the World Series; the All-Star Game and All-Star events; a full schedule of regular-season games each year; Sunday Night MLB game of the week; one game every Saturday in September; at least two games every holiday and Opening Day; two additional "Pennant Race" games each week in September; as well as major award announcements and the Winter Meetings (ESPN). In N.Y., Richard Sandomir puts the five-year deal at $40M (N.Y. TIMES, 9/19). OFF CBS: The deal ends MLB's 21-year relationship with CBS Radio, and the HOLLYWOOD REPORTER'S Stephen Battaglio reports that CBS did not want to renew its MLB package, "which had been unprofitable in recent years." MLB's radio network broadcasts "lost several major sponsors after the players' strike" and "made others skittish about signing on." Battaglio adds while CBS affils "liked having the crown jewel events ... [they] griped about having to carry so many regular-season games." ESPN will develop a radio version of "Baseball Tonight" (HOLLYWOOD REPORTER, 9/19).