SBD/Issue 144/News & Opinions

DC-Area Minor League Baseball Teams Drop Radio Broadcasts

The WASHINGTON TIMES' Eric Fisher reported that DC's three minor league baseball teams "have pulled the plug on local radio broadcasts of their games, signaling a growing disconnection between the suburban locations now favored for such franchises and the broadcast fees required to get on the air." Minor league clubs "typically pay local AM stations to get their games on the air," with rights fees often ranging "in the tens of thousands of dollars." Additionally, "the radio signals involved are often weak, pointed in only one direction at night and easily disrupted by weather or geography." The teams involved – the Double-A Eastern League Bowie Baysox, and the Single-A Carolina League Potomac Cannons and Frederick Keys – decided to drop their radio deals because there "was too little value there for the money, especially when also considering the soft advertising market." The Canons are now transmitting their games on their Web site, while the Keys and the Baysox "will only reach the airwaves a combined 14 times this year through the Comcast-owned CN8 TV station." Comcast-Spectacor Dir of Minor League Operations Frank Miceli, on the decision to drop radio broadcasts: "When we closed on purchase of the clubs [in January 2001], we started taking a long look at operations across the board. The radio element seemed like something a little out of whack. In the case of the Baysox, in particular, you had a radio signal that couldn't even be clearly heard in the parking lot [of Prince George's Stadium]. We enjoyed our relationship with WNAV, but if we can't really reach all our fan base, our core markets, it doesn't represent the best use of our dollars" (WASHINGTON TIMES, 4/14).

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