ESPN STEPS UP TO THE PLATE WITH MLB RADIO AGREEMENT
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).